Types of Progress
22. Insoluble Problems
23. Purna Yoga
24. Purna Yoga and The Traditional Yogas
Man seeks comfort and happiness. If this is the goal of a man and he wants it from Mother, it is easy for him to attain it.
If comfort alone is the goal, a prayer with faith will bring it. If one needs his life to be happy too, prayer with moved emotion will accomplish it. For most, the whole life is covered by the twin goals of comfort and happiness. There are other types of progress in life sought by many.
· Steady success in the present life as a continuous phenomenon is desired by one type of people. To maintain the relation and devotion to Mother steadily is an inner condition that will yield this outer result.
· There is a progress whose rate is far quicker than we can conceive of. Here the final results are awarded as initial returns. Such a result comes to those who are dynamic and diligent in work. Life yields great results to these people at the end of a career. If Mothers devotees are diligent and dynamic in their work, Mother gives the final results in the beginning. Mother gives in the beginning what life gives in the end.
· Moving to the next higher level, the lessee of a land becoming a landlord, taxi driver becoming a taxi owner, high school teacher entering college service, etc.are some expressions of progress. To all those devotees who accept Mother in life generallynot merely as Divine, but as a guiding force in lifethis type of progress happens.
· Moving to the top level, a servant becoming master, a low-level officer becoming a high-level executive is another type of progress. If devotees accept Mother in life, not in a general fashion, but thoroughly and fully, they meet with such success.
· Moving from the lowest of jobs to the highest of posts and likewise from level to level is the highest progress life can afford to anyone.
There are those who accept Mother in life thoroughly and fully and also open their faculties wider and wider to Mother. Particularly, they open to Mother in their vital and let Her expand herself in their vital.
There are nothing like insoluble problems for Mother. But, in the scheme of things, in the life of the devotee many problems are left unsolved which he comes to describe as insoluble problems. If problems of that description are taken up, there are two approaches that lead to solutions. One way is to change the human trait that generated the problem. That is a radical, substantial solution that would not only offer a solution to the problem on hand, but would usher the willing individual into a greater measure of prosperity. The other is to seek a limited solution. Isolating the problem from the man and his life, insulating it from other influences, concentrating our efforts on the solution, we find a solution. Either is possible.
For the first solution, it is necessary for a man to know why a certain problem arose. If he knows it and he is willing to change in himself that trait which created the problem, then it is good. Once he makes that inner change, a prayer will readily remove the problem, however knotty it appears to be. In case he is unable to locate in himself any characteristic or attitude or activity that led to the problem, he should come forward to assume that one exists inside him and be willing to give it up, whether he knows it or not. Before taking up a prayer to solve the problem, he must pray to Mother to remove what in him has caused it.
The second is not an attempt to change ones inside but to aim at a limited solution, which is a total solution to the problem. A dozen methods are open to him.
1. Intense Prayer: If one is unemployed for years or a girls marriage is getting postponed for 10 years or one is suffering from a chronic disease, an intense prayer will remove it. By intense prayer I mean that the devotee should go deep into himself, as deep as the problems constitute a worry in him, and from there resolve to pray to Mother. Prayer from that depth will be elevating. Should he reach such depth for prayer, he should set apart three or four days and be fully absorbed in it. The problems will melt away. As the devotee goes to a depth within himself and voices a prayer from there, the problem receives the full impact of the prayer whose intensity is equal to the problem. Naturally it gives way.
2. Deep Concentration: The first method of prayer and this concentration are the same in essence but their forms vary. This can be resorted to only by those to whom concentration is natural and easy. A concentration should be developed in meditation and tested for its intensity against the intensity of the problem. If it does not match, day after day the intensity of the concentration should be increased until it reaches the intensity of the problem. In a few days one can reach it. Once it is reached, the problem can be forgotten and one can lose oneself in the concentration. The problem gives way on its own.
3. Complete Consecration: Narrating to Mother in prayer or in imagination the sequence of events that led to the problem is called consecration. If it is done without reactions of mind, after a few sittings the knot will be broken. One significance of this method is all the harassing life events that led to the creation of this problem, once consecrated, will not recur in the life of the devotee anymore.
4. Offering the Karma: If the devotee knows now that his past actions have led to the present situation, he should offer to Mother the original acts so as to dissolve the karma at its roots. A father whose son had run away from home acknowledged that in his youth he had run away from home as a truant. His offering of his earlier actions now to Mother brought his son back to him exactly at the moment when his mind repented.
5. Offering of the propensities that have created the Karma: This is the same as offering of Karma but is deeper and has a greater purifying effect.
6. Constant remembrance of Mother: Instead of focussing on the problem, if one comes away in his mind from the problem and tries to remember Mother constantly, at the point the remembrance reaches maturity, the solution is found.
7. Gratitude: Mother says the god of Gratitude is the youngest in the life of earth. If one who is beset with a problem puts aside the problem itself and takes up other bright aspects of life and feels an intensely real Gratitude to Mother for each of them, before the list is fully covered, the problem will be solved.
8. Faith: A renewal of faith in the context of the present problem and fuller affirmation leads to a solution.
9. Higher Understanding: If one is of a mental bent, analysis of the problem in a wider context so as to arrive at a fuller understanding removes it.
10. Grace: Grace acts on its own. For us to bring ourselves to move Grace, all that we should do is to withdraw the faith from every other aspect. That makes Grace act. For instance, when salary arrears of 15 years are pending with the government, the mind will naturally rely on rules, procedures, etc. Grace cannot act as long as faith is there in any other aspect of life.
Mother says that She does not represent a teaching but is a creative force in action come on earth to expedite evolution. A teaching is an idea. One can accept a teaching and act on it. His willed action gives his own force to the idea. Non-violence, truth-speaking are such ideas that carry not a force of action but a force of idea. The idea becomes a force when the will of man lends its force to it. Electricity is not an idea, it is not a teaching or an argument. It is a force, a material force that can be used in several ways. Unless we use electricity, it does not come into action. All other theoretical explanations, however brilliant they are, are beside the point for electricity. Mother is a spiritual force. She is a spiritual force in mind, life and body. She emerges in full vigour and finds a play only when we let her work on the parts of our being. When so permitted Mother removes the shade of ego and desire from the soul, narrowness from mind and spirit, and darkness and tamas from the body. Man can achieve in a few days with Mothers force what will otherwise take years or maybe centuries.
Lenin said electricity when combined with the soviet made communism. Scientific discovery of any description takes the society centuries ahead. The spiritual discovery of Mother can abridge millenniums into days and months. For instance, Mother says the sadhak can consider himself lucky if full yogic efforts bring out the psychic being in 30 years. She adds that in the atmosphere of the Ashram, if one lets her force work in him, the same can be achieved in a few months. Sri Aurobindo says this is the Hour of God when the Divine intends to take great evolutionary strides in a few short steps. He also adds that his yogic help can best be received only through Mother. It is the mission of Mother to distribute His grace to the sadhaks, devotees and the world-at-large.
Mother and Sri Aurobindo used the supramental force to deliver a mortal blow to death. The supramental is unique in more than one way. In mind if we have an idea and want to put it into action, we use the will to accomplish it. The idea expresses knowledge and the will implements it. Mind is so constituted that the knowledge and will can exist apart in it. One may have the knowledge without having the will. Another may have the will power without the knowledge of what to do. In a third, both may coexist without action. If we want to build a house, it is clear that the idea will not achieve it unless one decides to build it and swings into action. That is what we mean when we say knowledge and will exist separately in the mind. In the Supermind they are fused together. Knowledge there contains the will and will includes knowledge. To extend the analogy of the house, if one with Supramental Consciousness thinks a house can be built, the house is there instantaneously. In Her vision of the supermind, She explains how the supramental beings act just by thought. One of those beings wanted to have a garment and Mother says it was there on him at once.
Trikaladrishti, the knowledge of the past, present and future, will be a natural, permanent endowment of the Supramental Consciousness.
When we want to know about a person or a thing, we collect information, put it together, think and arrive at an opinion. That is the way of the mind, observation, sensing, thinking and inference. Supramental Consciousness has direct, total and integral knowledge of the persons or things it wants to know. When one endowed with Supramental Consciousness wants to know of another person before him, he turns his attention to that person and feels a total identification with him. The Supramental man feels the other mans thoughts enter his own mind, his feelings enter into his nerves, making knowledge total and complete.
attainments of any description can be imitated by adepts but, Mother says, the supramental
attainments cannot be imitated. They do not lend themselves to be faked.
Spiritual attainments of any description can be imitated by adepts but, Mother says, the supramental attainments cannot be imitated. They do not lend themselves to be faked.
As Mothers yoga advanced, Her sense organs began to change character. Instead of the physical ear hearing, the subtle ear started forming and slowly replaced the physical one. Her subtle sight came more and more to the front, pushing Her eyes to the rear. She narrates with interest how She sees with eyes closed. Her listening functions precisely when the speakers thoughts are well formulated and clear. She is unable to listen when there is lack of clarity in the speakers mind.
To take to Her Yoga, Her basic conditions were very simple. Avoidance of politics, liquor, smoking and sex were those conditions. To receive the most from Her, She demands sincerity down to the very physical. Her explanation of mental sincerity is to know one knows nothing. Vital sincerity for her is to renounce the enjoyment of success. She goes further and says if one can give up the right to happiness, one gets the right to Ananda. Material sincerity is to give all ones material possessions to the Divine Work.
Mother often draws a poignant distinction between our life and the future life She has in store for us. One such dictum of Hers is: Explanations are mental, Power is Supramental. Her understanding of human nature crosses all known boundaries. She says that man now lies as never before and explains it is due to the fact that dying falsehood rises in vigour.
Until the age of 80, Mother did not sleep for more than one hour in the night. After 80, She changed Her sleeping habit. At night, She says, Her consciousness is as full as in the day. At various times energy of enormous intensities passed through Her. Once a sadhak received an electric shock on approaching Her. She said an Italian discovered that the human body has such intensity of electric charge as to give a shock at a distance of 18 feet. Not only Her consciousness but even Her material substance of the body had acquired the power to spread out all over the universe.
Mother started hearing comments that She looked tall at night and confirmed it was true.
Mother is a pre-eminent iconoclast. She says there is no destiny that cannot be changed.
In January 1969, the Superman appeared before Her. She saw no shadow of the figure. She says with the disappearance of the ego, shadow disappears too.
The passage to Supermind is marked by the heart stopping. This was an experience of Sri Aurobindo according to Mother.
Her list of mantras that She had been chanting runs to over 100. One of them She used often. OM NAMO BHAGAVATE is that mantra. The experience of Mother was that the greatest of inner disturbances is calmed by the chanting of this mantra.
She explained this yoga from every point of view. One important explanation: Absence of personal reaction is the basis of Purna Yoga.
Kundalini is the stored-up nervous energy in the muladhara chakra, situated at the tail end of the spine. When yogis succeed in their tapasya, they awaken this energy. It rises trumpeting like a serpent through the chakras in the heart centre and those in the head to join the thousand-petalled Lotus chakra above the head when the Yogi attains samadhi. In our yogic tradition awakening of Kundalini is a major landmark and soon leads to Mukti and Samadhi. So, it was understood that a Yogi whose Kundalini was awakened could not live for long. In Sri Aurobindos Purna Yoga, the whole process is in reverse. The Yogi does not awaken Kundalini. He surrenders his ego and intensifies his aspiration. The Psychic being buried behind the heart comes forward and slowly opens the Sahasradala centre, the thousand-petalled Lotus centre above the head. The higher spiritual energy starts pouring in, opening each chakra in succession from above downwards, ultimately opening the Kundalini chakra. This happened to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and both of them, contrary to the traditional belief, lived for over 50 years after the awakening of kundalini.
Her Peace is as tangible as any earthly force, perhaps, more powerful than that. She used to say that if anyone invoked Her Peace over a crowd in commotion or a quarrel, it would descend at once. It is the experience of many people that quarrels subside in minutes, noise disappears, disorder turns into order when Mothers Peace is invoked on the situation.
Mother comes to us according to our strength, rather according to our weakness. It is not given to man to receive all that Mother is. At best he can receive what his greatest strength permits. Receptivity to Mother, to Mothers Force, to Mothers Consciousness, to Mothers Grace comes from purity, faith, devotion, sincerity, etc. It is not so easy to fulfil any of these conditions in a good measure. So, we have to look at what we are, instead of considering what Mothers conditions are. As we are today we have accepted several things. We have accepted our own innate ability, better still, our own inner goodness, etc. To receive Mother most, the immediate practical step is to accept Mother at the level of our greatest reliance. Let us accept Mother instead of social opinion, if society is the highest standard we have accepted. Should a person disregard society also and be guided by his own conscience, let him accept Mother instead of his conscience. That way one can receive the most from Mother.
To practice self-restraint is the basis of all yogas and any discipline. Should a man agree to practice self-restraint as directed by Mother, it will be a great discipline. She says one should not seek comfort, and one should not seek to do the work he likes. Instead he should evince enthusiasm in the work assigned to him. This is no ordinary effort. It means if one wishes to sit and gossip but is asked to sit and type, he can bring himself to do it as part of duty and obedience. Imagine what will be the effort required for him to enjoy his typing as he would enjoy his gossip. That is the type of self-restraint called for to follow Mother. The day consists of 24 hours and if one decides to practice such a self-restraint, 24 hours are enough to make great progress.
Mother explains purity as exclusive reliance on the Divine. She draws a distinction between trust and surrender. One can surrender to another knowing that the other would ruin him but still can bring himself to accept it. Trust is different. One who has Trust (in the Divine) knows that whatever the Divine does to him, ultimately it will be for his own good. Surrender can have a dimension of self-immolation, whereas Trust is always self-fulfilling and elevating.
Another way of making progress in accepting Mother is to raise oneself. Each man is at one level of existence and functioning. Suppose he tries to raise himself one step higher than where he is, he requires prolonged persistent efforts. When he succeeds, the success may be for a short duration in the day. We must accept the small success and try to extend it throughout the day. This is a powerful way of growing more and more into Mothers Consciousness, since after completing one level, there is always a next higher level open to him, making his progress endless. Such an effort can be made to speak in a low voice, to keep Mothers Presence, to practice any of Mothers disciplines.
One other way is to fully exhaust ones physical, nervous and mental energies in the work we do. A foreigner working in a project took to this and in six or seven days he was exhausted beyond measure. At that moment near a machine he saw Sri Aurobindo standing in resplendent form, a vision rarely granted to seekers.
The aim of any yoga is moksha, liberation of the soul from the cycle of births and deaths. In Purna Yoga the aim is not liberation of the soul but transformation of human life into Divine Life. To start this Yoga the soul is to be liberated, but not from the cycle of birth and death. The soul is to be liberated from ego and desire. The soul that seeks its own liberation while millions of other souls languish in darkness is expressing an egoistic desire. In Purna Yoga the human soul must renounce the desire for individual salvation and lend its liberated status as an instrument for the greater fulfilment of the original Divine Intention.
Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Tantra, and Raja Yoga are the main lines of Indian Yoga. In all these yogas, the system chooses one part and purifies it through austerities. Purification leads to the liberation of that Purusha, the Purusha of that part. Through that initial liberation they attain Moksha, i.e. give liberation to the Jivatma. Hatha Yogas instrument is the body. It liberates the Annamaya Purusha and attains final liberation of Jivatma through that. Jnana Yoga uses thought in the mind as the instrument to work on and attains the desired result, initially releasing Manomaya Purusha. Raja Yoga uses the whole mind to achieve the same result. Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga use the vital and will respectively. All Indian Yogas use one part of the human being. Purna Yoga uses all the parts of the beingmind, vital and bodyand seeks the release of Psychic being from the domination of nature, the Prakriti. It is called Purna Yoga because its instrument is the whole being.
In our tradition Kundalini awakens and rises through the chakras in the heart between the brows and the head and joins the thousand-petalled Lotus above the head yielding Moksha through Samadhi. In Purna Yoga the entire process is in the reverse. The Yogi releases the psychic being hidden behind the heart from the ego and desire. The Psychic comes out and hastens the purification of the entire instrument. This opens the thousandpetalled Lotus, first and lets the higher spiritual force descend through all the chakras down to the Kundalini, which is awakened at the end
In the tradition we use one part to liberate the whole. This being an arduous task, naturally serious austerities are called for. Asanas, Pranayama, Japa, Mantra, Tantra, etc. are resorted to. In Purna Yoga, as the whole being is the instrument and the sadhak is not the human being but the Divine Itself, the path is broad. Hence all narrow austerities are avoided. Methods needed here are sincerity and aspiration. Only, they must be total and intense.
Tradition employs physical methods. Purna Yoga eschews physical methods and resorts to only spiritual and psychological methods.
Tantra Yoga, which occupies a place of pride in Yogas, starts with the dictum that MAN is a soul in the body. Purna Yoga begins with the assumption that MAN is a soul in the mind.
It is customary for the Jnani to look down upon the ignorant Bhakta, and the Karma Yogi frowns on the Jnana as insubstantial, etc. Each yoga is inimical to the other. In Purna Yoga, not only are all these three systems included, but each leads to the other, to finally integrate the effort.
Indian Yoga is a life-shunning path. Purna Yoga declares that all life is Yoga and embraces life in its fold. Rishis, Munis, Yogis, when displeased, are known to spell out a curse. Purna Yoga has as its experiential base all life is divine. It does not lend itself to curse anyone. If in its path an obstacle is laid, it looks into itself to remove the deep-seated curse, the eternal falsehood.
Traditional Yogas purify one part of the being and the ego of that part is dissolved, while the egos of the other parts remain. In Purna Yoga the ego in every part must be wiped out to bring the psychic being forward, the very first requirement.
Traditional yoga is done in the hermitages in the forest, away from life. Purna Yoga accepts life, lives it as the Divine Wills it to be lived, so that Life is divinised.
Guru is all in our tradition and even replaces God as far as the Sishya is concerned. The guru is God. Purna Yoga does not seek or accept a human guru. The Jagat Guru, the world Teacher in the heart of the sadhaka, is the only Guru.
Yogis pray to the gods Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna to grant them boons in their Yoga. The gods assent and grant the prayers. The Gods help the Yogi in his Yogic realisation. Purna Yoga aims at bringing down the power of the Vignana Loka, the Supramental plane that is above the plane of the gods, the overmental plane. If gods are accepted by the sadhaka, his yogic achievement will be limited by the limitation of gods, unless the participating god himself seeks spiritual progress through Purna Yoga.
Practice of this Yoga is not governed by Asanas, Pranayama, dress regulation, diet restriction, auspicious hours or even Mantras. Even meditation occupies a place of less importance here, not the pride of place accorded usually.
Indian tradition does not encourage women to take to sannyasa, yoga or Tapas. In certain disciplines there is even a prohibition. Mother accepts women with the same eagerness as men into Her fold. The only criterion for Mother is the fitness for yoga.
Our tradition saysand Sri Aurobindo also has said the same thingthat in sleep every human being goes to Satchidananda to be spiritually energised. The stone stillness of sleep enables the soul to raise itself to that height. Purna Yoga demands the same type of inner stillness in activity for its accomplishment.