January 13, 1974
HOW TO SURRENDER
The question addressed to us is, “How to practice the idea of surrender; the idea of surrender remains in the mind, it never gets translated into life. How to make it clear, a living dynamic ideal?” The question can be very simply answered. Rather it will be called polemics.
An idea when it is understood is accepted by the mind. It is not the mind that lives, it is the vital that lives. If the idea is understood it means the mind has accepted; whenever a mental question arises, the person who has accepted the idea will be able to espouse it. If the person is to live that idea, he must make it acceptable to the vital, make the vital follow what the mind has accepted. In a broad sense that is the process of civilization given to the society through the institution of education. First I shall explain what surrender is and put it into different lights.
The topic “Surrender” we have taken today is the surrender in yoga to achieve union with the Divine. This is the surrender to the Divine. And particularly the surrender we have in mind is the surrender as conceived by Sri Aurobindo for the purposes of Integral Yoga. We see the ordinary sense of the word surrender. Man progresses. When a man progresses, he seeks for something. Normally he seeks for what he has not, the next step from where he is. Very often either he has to overcome the step where he is, to achieve the next or he has to shed what he is, to achieve the next. For example, an ignorant man seeking knowledge must part with ignorance so that knowledge will come to him. So technically we say, ignorance is surrendered for knowledge to come in. A man has a certain skill in basketball. He has to shed the present skill to acquire the further skill. He has to improve his mastery over the game, he has to train his muscles to the next higher level. Examined closely you will see, unless the present level gives up its practices, it cannot go to the next higher level. You use it, the person has a certain efficiency; if he wants to go to the next higher level of efficiency we say it is an improvement of what he is in. If you examine the dynamics of learning, the present fabric of learning has to be undone and has to be redone at the next higher level.
Surrender is a natural psychological process in the evolution of the human being at all levels. Surrender in its utmost sense can be explained as an implied process in all the areas of evolution at the psychological level. It can be seen in education, it can be seen in the acquiring of culture, it can be seen in organizing oneself. Any mental skill, any psychological endowment, can be arrived at only by giving up what one has in preference to what is much better. If this definition of surrender is accepted we can extend it to the yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Simply, the word yoga means union, it is common knowledge – union of the human with the Divine and further, union of the Divine behind the human with the Divine. To achieve this union, surrender is the means, Sri Aurobindo says. All that humanity implies, all that humanity has developed for its own function at the level of its being human must be surrendered, and the original spiritual substance must be laid bare, so that that spiritual substance, the soul, can reach the outer Divine, either in work, or in persons, or in evolution or in manifestation, or in transcendence. This is what he calls yoga.
In his famous book, The Mother he says that the three instruments of his yoga are, Aspiration – Rejection – Surrender. To achieve the surrender one has to aspire. To achieve the Divine union one has to aspire. Aspiration is called “Agni” in Sanskrit, the eternal flame in the heart of man, which flames towards the Divine consummation. Sri Aurobindo says, “Release the aspiration”. Somewhere he says, “Aspiration awakes in me. Achieve in me all that I flame for”. If you release the aspiration you will achieve union with the Divine. When aspiration is released it is a flame, it is a dynamic force, a spiritual force released from the innermost core of the being. When aspiration is completely released, it releases itself to achieve the Divine. But that is only one part. Along with the movement of release it lets loose all that is human in us, all the deficiencies of the mind, all the attachments of the heart, all the refractoriness of the vital, the entire inertia of the physical are completely released. That is, man is made fluid, flexible and plastic for the evolution. Having released the aspiration, do we see only the negative side? No, though the positive side is seen very little. All that is negative for the purposes of the consummate surrender, the consummation of yoga which is union, is to be rejected. That is given to the human will. As long as there is something to be rejected, the human will has to take effort. Then when there is nothing further to be rejected, yoga becomes effortless. The human will need not take effort anymore. A man aspires, a flame is released and the negative human endowments are released. All these endowments that are called “samskaras” in Sanskrit are to be consciously rejected. Aspiration coupled with the rejection makes the flame pure. The flame has released the energy. The movement of rejection makes the flame pure. If a movement of surrender is added to that, yoga is completed.
What is surrender? Who is to surrender? Who is to surrender what to whom? When we say, this is a bad habit in me, forgetfulness is a bad habit in me, and I have to refresh my memory and keep it alert, I have to be punctual, there we surrender one bad habit and acquire a good one in its place. When dishonesty is bad, honesty is good. Dishonesty is given up in favour of honesty. The effort is taken by the human will. The human will exercises itself over the mental movements, rejects the dishonest movements, encourage the honest movements to express, positively exercises the honest movements, and dishonesty is replaced by honesty. This work is done by the human will.
Coming to a broader level of the question, when we say surrender, what does the human will surrender? For social methods, for good living, to be a good citizen, to be a conscientious citizen, bad habits are to be given up in favour of good habits. For the yogi who is a citizen of heaven, all habits are to be given up. Bad habits are bad; they have to be given up. Good habits are good, therefore they have to be given up. What the yogi needs is not habit. No habits is necessary for him because habit is a limiting movement. Habit is a dead movement. All habits have to go. And when you come to good and evil, he has to give up evil, because evil is not wanted. And he does not need good also. All he needs is the Divine. The Divine includes the good and the evil. The evil is to be given up, the good is to be given up, therefore bad habits are to be given up, good habits are to be given up, all habits are to be given up. In favour of what? In favour of the Divine.
Question: How do you go about giving up good habits?
As you give up bad habits so you give up good habits. One man is proverbially late. The other is proverbially punctual. The punctual man is appreciated by the society, the late-comer is despised by the society. The late-comer can learn punctuality. The punctual man can learn late-coming. The question is, the man is punctual; how to give up good habits? Why to give up good habits? For yoga, any movements has to be fresh. What the mind has learned, if you practice it well, will be a mental evolution. The mind has accepted the idea of punctuality and mind implements the idea. Punctuality does not belong to the soul. Punctuality belongs to the mind. If the mind learns a good habit and implements it faithfully it is evolution in the mind.
There is a meeting at a certain place at 3 o’ clock. Shall I go at 3:10? When you agree to go there at 3, suppose when your mind agrees to go, you leave here at 2:50 and reach there by 3:10. The idea was accepted by your mind, understood by your mind, executed by your mind. Whether you are in that place, whether you are in The Mother’s room itself, it you function from the mind it is a mental act. You attend the meeting. They say tomorrow they will meet at 3 o’ clock. The moment you hear the time of the meeting your mind says “tomorrow I must come here at 3 o’ clock”. You ask your mind to go away. Just go away. Consecrate the act to the soul. Refer the act to the soul. Today’s meeting is continued by tomorrow’s meeting. Today’s consecration of receiving the idea that the meeting tomorrow is at 3 o’ clock is consecrated to the inner Divine. This consecration must be continued by the consecrated act of attending the meeting tomorrow. If the mind can follow the time by looking at the clock, the soul can follow the time without looking at the clock to the second. Today you receive the idea. The mind comes to serve you. Tell the mind, “I don’t want your service, I am no longer under your domination”. Receive the idea in this way. Offer it to the inner Divine. Let the soul accept the idea. From today till tomorrow 3 o’ clock if it is properly done, and it can be properly done, not only this will be followed by attending the meeting tomorrow at three exactly, guided by the Divine, not by the clock and the mind, not by the mind through the clock, but by the soul through inner means, but all the acts from this moment of accepting the idea, the soul accepting the idea of attending the meeting at 3 o’ clock, until you attend the meeting, all the intervening acts will be governed by this pervasive consecration. Whether you want it or not, whether you are aware of it or not, the very fact that one act is fully consecrated will lead to the next act being partially consecrated. And if you are aware, if you are awake, if the aspiration is proper, if the consecration is full, each act will lead to more complete consecration of further acts. You will see, just at 3 o’ clock you will be at the meeting. There are two possibilities – if you are not at the meeting, either your consecration is not proper or the level of topics to be discussed, the consciousness of the subjects to be discussed is below the consciousness of the level of your consecration. That means you should not attend the meeting.
Aspiration – Rejection – Surrender are the three parts Sri Aurobindo mentions in his book, The Mother. When aspiration is released, it releases the human movements. When the human movements are rejected and it is supplemented by surrender, it leads to the Divine communion. What is to surrender, is the original question. When good habits and bad habits are surrendered, it is the human will that does it. What is the will to do? Sri Aurobindo says to surrender the will. Who is to surrender the will? This is one of the questions I had when I came to this yoga. The will that we talk of is the mental will. When we feel the will cannot surrender itself, we by mistake feel that mind is the last term of man. Surely mind is not the last term of man. When the mental will is to be surrendered, it is to be surrendered by the soul. If you are awake in the soul, the soul will surrender the mental will. Rather, if you are awake in the mind, which all of us are, we by implication think that mind is the last term, will is the last term. The moment the human will begins to surrender, the Divine Will will replace it automatically. It is an automatic process. When you are awake in the soul, you feel Silence. When you are awake in the soul, you appreciate beauty naturally. If you want to understand it better, look at people who have no minds, who are simply vital. They can’t appreciate an idea, they can’t appreciate a piece of art, they can’t appreciate things of the mind. To them they are just objects. Likewise, for us who are not awake in the soul, we look at things by the mind. They are just mental objects, objects for mental understanding. When we are awake in the soul, aspiration is released. I would say it like this: When the mind moves with dynamism, it is generally called ambition. When the heart exercises itself vigorously it gets into attachment. When the vital actively moves we call it impulses or desires. When the physical moves we call it an act. When the soul moves it is aspiration. When the inner being, the inner consciousness, is active, the movement is called aspiration. When that aspiration is released, yoga begins. If that aspiration is not released, what we have to do is, to release that aspiration. The whole yoga must shift to the first chapter of releasing that aspiration. In the book, Hour of God Sri Aurobindo has a section called, “Hymn to the Mother of Radiances”. It is a very beautiful writing. He covers the whole universe and at the end he says “Aspiration awakes in me”. If all those things can be done, aspiration will awake in a person. And aspiration is a very basic spiritual endowment.
Once the aspiration is released and it is coupled with the rejection of the human parts & the movement of surrender – which means the mental will withdrawing itself from the field and allowing the Spirit to move – the Divine consummation is given to the individual. These are the three steps – Aspiration – Rejection – Surrender. This is the first way, he says.
There are another three steps Sri Aurobindo mentions in the Synthesis of Yoga – Renunciation, Equality, Oneness. The other day someone asked, “Why do you say surrender? What is the difference between surrender and communion, surrender and identification, surrender and oneness?” When you say surrender you are using a human language – the small surrenders to the big. When the small surrenders to the big, when the small and big relate themselves, there we say it is surrender. When two equal things relate themselves, we say it is communion, identification, or oneness. Sri Aurobindo’s ideal of spiritual oneness is very famous. The simple idea is this. Behind each living being is the soul, the Divine spark. It is covered by the evolutionary part, the manifested part in evolution, of humanity or animality or the vegetable kingdom. Behind the manifestation is the pure soul, the Divine spark. If the spark becomes aware of itself and goes out to the spark behind another man or object – suppose a man talks to another man, it is human talk. His mind meets another mind. Instead of acting from the mental centre if he acts from the soul centre, his soul comes out and it meets, not the mind of the man but the soul. Soul meeting soul is Oneness. The souls of all manifesting units coming together in one plane of consciousness to meet is called Spiritual Oneness. To arrive at this oneness in the yoga of an individual, the prerequisite is equality or equanimity, not in the mind but in the soul. So long as mind is disturbed or vital is disturbed or the emotions are attached, naturally the door is closed. If my soul has to come out and meet your soul and if my mind hates you, the soul behind the mind hides behind the hatred, it goes up to the hatred and there it stops. My hatred is poured on you. I hide in the hatred. If I like you, I hide in the liking. My liking meets your liking of me. It becomes a mental liking or an emotional liking. It does not become a soul communion. Mind must give up all its preferences. Emotion must give up all its attachments. The vital must give up all its needs. The physical must give up all its inertia. The soul peers through all these windows and meets the other person. For that the being must be equal. For the being to be in equality, the prior step is called Renunciation. If the mental preferences, emotional attachments, vital impulses and physical inertia are renounced, that is the first step. If renunciation is complete, there is nothing to disturb the soul, equality is there. When the vibration of equality covers the being from head to foot in all its parts, the mental will cannot come out because it is equal. It cannot act. It can act only in a vibrant medium. When there is equality mind cannot function. Mind can only reflect the soul behind. The soul comes out.
Renunciation leading to equality leading to oneness is the other step. Oneness is another word for surrender. Oneness is otherwise called communion or identification.
The next topic is the way in which surrender is arrived at. Here there are four steps. The first step is aspiration, the second is concentration, the third is consecration, the fourth is surrender. These are the four steps to arrive at surrender. This is given as the central part of the Integral Yoga. Here we shall take up what aspiration is. For the surrender to be complete, for the human parts to be surrendered, the divine part has to be released. The energy and dynamism to surrender the human parts are possible only when the Divine part just moves a little. Out of that step comes aspiration. The first question is: there is a statement by Sri Aurobindo in the Synthesis of Yoga, “He who chooses the Infinite has already been chosen by the Infinite”. When the Infinite chooses the human soul, aspiration is born. It is enough if we pay attention to that aspiration. Without the Lord choosing him, it is not possible for a person to reach the Divine. The Lord releases the aspiration in us. It is enough if we do not kill the aspiration. Once the aspiration is seen in the smallest possible extent, it must be nourished, cherished, allowed to come out. Granting that aspiration is fully released, it can even be done as a small practice. Instead of the mind asking for something, withdraw the mind and let something from behind the mind ask. You will see aspiration coming. The mind can ask for a tape recorder, the mind can ask for a reference in a book, the mind can ask for an understanding of an argument. The vital can ask for food. If you withdraw the mental preference for an understanding, what is there behind? It cannot ask for an understanding, it will fall silent. If you withdraw the vital desire for food, what is behind will not ask for food, it will be covered with power. There is another consequence. The moment you withdraw your desire for food, food will come to you without asking. That’s another part. The moment you withdraw your desire for understanding, clarity will come to you without thinking. We are in the habit of understanding through thought, through the process of thinking. When you suspend the process of thinking, a natural clarity will occupy your mind. It can be practiced in any part of the mind.
Granting that aspiration is completely released, this aspiration is unorganized, unformulated, it can just disappear into the atmosphere. There is a human effort necessary to gather the aspiration, make it one-pointed, concentrated. In the first step, as I said, when you aspire, the human parts also get released. We have to reject that. Even after the rejection if you see – aspiration does not act through a crystal clear medium. A medium is divided into seven, eight, ten parts. At one level one thinks of the Divine. At another level one sees the wall in front. At the third level one hears someone talking nearby. At the fourth level something reminds you it is dinner time. The being functions at different levels. It is not possible for a man to act on all levels. Then he becomes a consummate yogi, he need not act. What one has to do is, to concentrate all the aspiration at one point, brushing aside all the other things for the moment. What has to be rejected is to be rejected. If a movement of jealousy comes for a yogi he can’t think of the Divine for a minute. First he has to discourage the movement of jealousy and get rid of it. That rejection has to be done. That is the first step. Granting that a person does enough of rejection, his aspiration is clear. What is clear will not be completely clear, a second line of defense, a second line of thought will be there, a second line of observation will be there, a second line of impulses will be there. You can’t kill all those things in a day. You can’t also push them aside. The method suggested is, collect the pure aspiration at one point, concentrate; by the force of concentration of the aspiration, there will be no energy for the second line of defense to express. You will forget them, and they will forget to tease you. That is concentration. In one place Sri Aurobindo says, if you forcefully concentrate away from the physical mind you wake up in the dream trance, in the subtle mind. There you begin to dream.
When the aspiration is released, collect all of it at one point, concentrate. Without this concentration if the acts done through the aspiration are consecrated, they become like ordinary rain the monsoon – rain water reaches the sea, it is not used for cultivation, for harvest. If you harvest, you can harvest 70% of the rain water. If you use it as rain, you can use 1% of it. Aspiration gets dissipated, that is why concentration is necessary.
After having concentrated all the aspiration possible at one point, when you start doing a work it can be done for another benefit, it can be done in the human way, it can be done in the Divine way. When you do a work for yourself, the results are yours, when you do a work for the Divine, the result is for the Divine. If you do a work for yourself, if you read and understand and enjoy, it is a human act, an unconsecrated act. If you read after consecration, your reading releases further aspiration. Progressing to consciousness does not give you an understanding. Understanding becomes the substratum, secondary. Through the understanding you are pushed into the higher realms of consciousness. The acts done after the concentration of aspiration, any acts initiated, must be consecrated to the Divine.
Then we come to consecration. If consecration is logically followed it leads to surrender. It is said, what aspiration begins, consecration completes. What consecration releases surrender consummates. What is consecration and how is it to be done? How does consecration lead to surrender? To explain consecration I must explain what an act is. If you are writing a letter to a friend, what do you do? You have an idea of letter writing, you have a feeling for the friend to whom you write, you have information to convey. You put the information on paper, mail it and it reaches the other person. It conveys an information. Examine the whole act of letter-writing. We have a certain idea to be conveyed to a friend. The idea originates in your mind. The desire to communicate originates in your vital or emotions. Here is a public institution of the postal system. You use that, it reaches the other person. It touches his mind. He accepts your idea, he understands what you have said. It is a human act, originating at a human point, ending at a human point. It is called a social act, because it is between two people, it is not within oneself. If it is within oneself, it is an act; if it is between two people it is called a social act. You have performed a social act of writing to another person. Human evolution has been taken one step a little more. Behind your mind is the soul, Purusha. Behind the other person’s mind is the soul. You are a yogi. He is a yogi. You are not to function from the mind. The thought originates in the mind to write a letter. You are to discourage the thought. What happens, your soul comes in the place vacated by the mind.
How to discourage the thought? When the thought comes in the mind to write the letter, it is not merely a thought that arises. You like the thought, you approve of it. You consent to the thought that arises. You must withdraw the consent. You must withdraw the liking. You must remove your approval. It is like this. You switch on this tape-recorder. Suppose you give it to me. I have never used a tape-recorder. I want to start it. My hand goes to the first switch, then it withdraws. This may not be the right switch. I read. It says, “Forward”. My mind has not decided whether to press it or not. Because it doesn’t have the knowledge. When it has no mental knowledge, it suspends the act. You ask me, “Why don’t you press the switch?” I just look blank. Because the mind has no information or knowledge or skill. I ask somebody, “Which is the switch to press?” “Why, it is written there, why don’t you read?” I read, but my mind does not give consent because I am afraid of the machine. It is a negative suspension of thought, negative withdrawal of thought, due to lack of knowledge, lack of skill. As we can negatively withdraw ourselves from a thought, so we can positively withdraw ourselves from a thought. Withdrawal is the same. It can be done out of ignorance, it can be done out of knowledge. When done out of knowledge, you withdraw, you see that the moment you do so you have a thought, “I must write a letter. Who said so? Oh, my wife. It’s alright”. If you keep quiet, the same second that place will not be kept vacant. If the withdrawal of the thought, the suspension of the thought is real, is genuine, the soul comes in.
B wanted a piece of chocolate. He asked me, “What shall I do, I want to eat chocolate”. When you want to eat food, you ask for food. Out of the spoken word you ask for it. You get food, you eat, finished. It is an act commissioned by the spoken word, executed by the physical hand and mouth. That is one level at which man acts. The moment the idea of asking for food comes, if you stop asking, that part of the act is consecrated to the Divine. The act of asking is consecrated to the Divine. If it is properly done, properly consecrated, if you wait for a split second, look into the soul and say, “Let me not ask, asking comes to me in a human way; I am a yogi, I am not going to ask, let me consecrate this act, I leave it to the Divine”, somebody comes and asks, “Do you want food?” B said he wanted to eat a chocolate. Then he said “Well, I am not going to eat a chocolate. I am not going to ask for a chocolate”. He kept quiet. Within 2 seconds, bursting open the door, L came and said, “Do you want a bar of chocolate?” L is not in the habit of giving him chocolate; chocolates are not normally available in the room. It happened within 2 seconds. The idea is this: an idea comes to the mind, we speak it out because it has to be executed. That executing part, the part of execution through the spoken word is consecrated by not asking for food. There is nothing wrong in asking, there is nothing right in asking. That part of asking is consecrated. Immediately somebody comes and for your sake on your behalf he asks, “Do you want food?” What is the previous step to that, B asked that day. Before you ask, in the mind comes the thought, “I want food”. In the first stage you don’t ask. In the second stage if you don’t allow the thought to come in the mind and say, “Let this thought of asking for food not enter my mind, I am going to consecrate it to the Divine”. Before it enters the mind consecrate it to the Divine. What happens? When you ask for food, you ask for food. What food they have they give you. But in your mind you have a half dozen dishes in mind. But you don’t ask for them, you ask only for dinner. You don’t ask for what you want. If the mental act is consecrated it begins to act on somebody’s mind. As I told you, when the spoken word is consecrated, that domain of the spoken word is governed by that act of consecration. Another man speaks for you. When the consecration is taken to the mental act, it is a wider circle. Your mind and another’s mind are there within that area. The mental thought consecrated acts in that wider domain, immediately, instantaneously it touches another’s mind, somebody thinks, “I must give food to B”. You have seen it a million times. Everyday you have seen it. The moment that person thinks like this, he is aware of what B’s mind is thinking, he has half a dozen wishes in mind. He thinks of those wishes, he brings the food to the table, comes and calls, “B, will you please come, it is time for eating”.
B asked me what is the next step. Before the thought enters the mind – the stomach says, “I am hungry”, from there the message is given to the mind, the mind refuses to act and is consecrated. Before that, before the idea comes to the mind, the stomach feels it is hungry. If the impulses that arise out of the stomach announcing hunger are withdrawn, are consecrated, a wider area is now governed. Food comes to you in time, rightly, but this time what is necessary for the mind is not given. What is necessary for the mind is governed by the palate; what is necessary for the stomach is governed by the health. That is given to you. You see these items on the table. You are surprised. These are the foods that sit well in your stomach, that you happily eat. Before those impulses from the stomach start, the needs of the body are announced by the impulses to the stomach. The impulses originate in the body cells. If consecration, if awareness is pushed to that level, what the body cells need, not what the stomach needs will be given to you. Behind that is the Divine. Behind that is the Divine in the body consciousness. If one is aware of the Divine behind the body consciousness, and consecration is monitored from there – what the body needs is not physical food, is not the kind of food that we understand. It needs the universal energy. The Divine entity behind the body consciousness wants to draw the universal energy to energise the body. In the physical mechanism of the physical system, for that universal energy to enter the physical body, physical consciousness, food is the token. When you take some food, it activates the physiological system, certain vibrations are set in, the universal energy enters. To that extent that a limited amount of food is necessary, it’ll be given to you and you can take it.
These are the different levels of consecration. If each mental act, emotional act, physical act is consecrated and taken to the Divine behind it, behind the mind to the mental Purusha, behind the heart to the emotional Purusha, to the Vital Purusha, the physical Purusha, consecration is complete. That Divine communes with the Divine in the act, in the other person and it becomes surrender. This step is comprised of Aspiration – Concentration – Consecration – Surrender. We have seen three ways of achieving surrender. This is the easiest and most suitable way for the Integral Yoga.
Question: If a mental impulse to study is rejected and one just sits, how does one act, how does one study?
If as soon as you get up in the morning there is an impulse to study and you examine it, you will see that that impulse has not just entered into your head at 4 am. There are two things about it. A long time ago at the age of 14 or 15 you must have been fond of reading. There is an opinion in you that reading is good, that reading makes a man wise. There is a habit in you of enjoying your reading because you are intelligent and you understand what you read. If you don’t understand what you read there will be no impulse to read. Because you understand you have to read. It is enjoyable. You begin to enjoy. It is a habit. Now, reading is an act. You are a field of action. I shall suggest a permanent solution and a temporary solution. You must examine all the components of the act of reading in the morning. If there is a real joy in reading, a real habit of reading, a real opinion that reading makes a man wise, you have to go to that point some years ago, examine that, shed that opinion and make it fresh at that point. From there you have to trace it and come to this act. If you do it for a day or two, and examine your mind like that, this act will be easy. There is a temporary solution. Today the moment you get up if you feel you must do some reading, stop, don’t read. First consecrate tomorrow morning when you get up. Then you do whatever is possible at that time, do not put a stress on yourself. This night when you go to bed think of tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning when you get up the impulse may come or it may not come. You think of that. If you examine your mind a little closely you will see the impulse is hiding there. Why is this hiding? For what purpose? Offer that impulse to the Divine. Next morning, that impulse will not come. If it comes it will be very feeble.
Question: But if we give up each impulse then do we spend the day merely sitting inactively?
If the mental impulse or the vital impulse is given up, the spiritual impulse will begin to show itself in time. For example, today I was not thinking of you. I sent for you at 11:00. But when you were not there I just kept quiet. As usual I used to go to the Dining Room. When I went there today I thought of you. I never thought of recording this tape. You never thought of it. I never thought of coming to your house. There was a silence when I was sitting in the car. The silence naturally suspends all the mental, physical, vital impulses. My idea was that if you were at the Dining Room to take you to my room. It was perfectly silent. The driver turned around and looked at me. I told him, “I am looking for that thin young man with a moustache”. He told me he had seen you ten minutes earlier walking in the direction of your house. I told him to go there. I came here and met you. We spoke. Suddenly the topic of the tape came. It was not in your mind, not in my mind. If the mental impulse is withdrawn, if the vital impulse is withdrawn, the “spiritual” impulse will come, it will make you do the right thing.
Question: How to distinguish between a genuine spiritual impulse and a mental or vital one?
You can distinguish between what is bitter and what is sweet? Whether the mind feels peace, or the mind feels excitement can be distinguished. (I use the word mind, it is a spiritual centre). When you withdraw a thought and another thought comes, in doing that if you feel a satisfaction, an excitement, an enthusiasm, it is certainly yours, it is not spiritual. If you feel a fulfillment, if you feel quiet, a peace, if you feel a certain elevation, if you feel somewhere meditation is just stealing in, it is the right thing. The discrimination is very clear, you will never make a mistake.
Sri Aurobindo somewhere says the Yoga of Devotion can be divided into three stages and each stage is divided into three steps. The first stage consists of Faith, Worship, Obedience. The second is summarized as – Adoration, Delight, Self-Giving. The last as – Love, Ecstasy, Surrender. To arrive at surrender, there are 9 steps in this method. For surrender to be arrived at through the Yoga of Devotion one has to start with Faith. I shall explain all the 9 stages and see whether the explanation makes me feel the movement of surrender while I am explaining. Only then is it a right explanation, or explanation in the right spirit.
The first step of the first stage is Faith. The mind when it is convinced, there is conviction, when it believes, there is belief. It is a mental act. When the vital is strong it has confidence, heroism. When the soul moves it has faith. The faith in the soul can be compared to the instinct in the body as a parallel. When the leg lifts itself and puts itself on the ground, it knows the ground will receive it and it will not sink. There is instinctive knowledge in the body that is can walk. It is not calculated, it is not thought of, it is not impulsive, it is instinctive. That we may call faith in the body. Because the body has lived on the earth for millions of years, its knowledge has gone to deeper levels, where is stays. It is an abiding faith as far as the body is concerned. We call it instinct. So, the soul which has come into evolution knows what the mind does not know, what the heart refuses to believe, it knows where the vital shrinks, it knows where the body is not sure. Its true knowledge, when it is expressed through the mind, is the mental faith. When it is expressed through the vital, it is the vital faith. That knowledge is not an evolving knowledge, it is knowledge involved in the spirit. When it expresses itself through the mind, it is not conviction, not belief, not clarity. It is the faith of the soul expressed through the mind. It can express through the mind or any other part of the being. When this faith is there, yoga is possible. When this faith is not there, one’s yoga is to develop this faith. Till this faith is developed, one has to wait in his yogic evolution, spiritual evolution.
Surrender is possible only when you have faith. You take people who have that faith. Suppose you have the faith. It is a static condition, unmanifest. In the static condition it has no power. If it is activated, if it is made dynamic, it goes to the next step. The faith, if it is to be expressed, is faith in something. Faith is not absolute, it can be predicated to something. We have faith in the Divine. When it is made active, dynamic, predicated to something, that something is to be worshipped. Static faith in its progress becomes active worship. If the faith is to issue itself into an act, the act becomes worship. This is the second step in the 1st stage.
Worship wells out of the being from the basis of faith, from the foundation of faith. It is an active step, but an active psychological step. To make it an active physical act is has to be expressed in the act of obedience. Static faith made active becomes worship. But it is active only psychologically, not expressed in a physical act. When it is expressed in a physical act it is an act of obedience. The first stage travels through Faith – Worship – Obedience.
Question: What is the Divine Will? How to express obedience to the Divine Will without bringing in our lower will?
You bring in the question of sincerity. If you have a good endowment of faith and if in the name of faith you want to trade, smuggle in your own insincerity, achieve your own mental egoistic things, that can be done only by the instrumentation of insincerity. If you are sincere the distinction will be very clear. The faith will feel disturbed. If in the name of faith you obey something else, the faith will be disturbed, it will be uneasy. That is why sincerity is a psychic quality, sincerity is the barometer, sincerity is the acid test. It will be very clear. You can’t do service to the ego if you have faith. In the area that you have faith you can’t do service to ego. Outside the area of faith there are other parts of your being, there you can smuggle in so many things. But you will know. If you are awake, you will know. Then we move to the second stage.
In the second stage the first step is Adoration. At the first stage the faith has culminated in obedience. If the level of the faith deepens and becomes richer – obedience is an act of a smaller term, an act of subordination. Adoration is an emotion given by one to the other; the question of big and small does not arise. It adores, your being adores the other being. Adoration is like a fountain. You cannot stop it, or cork it up. It is an ever-living function. The emotions, feelings, inspiration constantly issue out of the being. You are in a daze. That is why people say, “I adore the ground on which she has walked”. The object adored is not necessary, something that is connected with the object is enough. You adore. The being swells in adoration. This adoration at this stage is less organized, evanescent, effervescent. If it becomes richer, more concrete, it need not express itself. When it becomes more organized and efficient, it becomes self-existent delight, not needing to predicate itself to another. That is the second step. Adoration leads to delight. When it further organizes itself, further progresses, it becomes saturated and begins to overflow. Delight is self-existent. It does not depend upon another. Then, unless it gives itself to another it does not feel the fulfillment. Self-giving is born at the next higher stage to delight. Constant giving of oneself must be there at the next higher stage. Self-giving comes out of delight, moving to the next higher stage, fulfilling itself and overflowing. Self-giving is a self-compelling act.
The second stage is comprised of Adoration – Delight – Self-giving. Self-giving is dynamic, needs to be moving about giving. Moving to the third stage, self-giving becomes Love. It is a constant vibration of love, not needing to give, not needing to be expressed. That love is the foundation of all creation. Again, moving ahead, love when it is saturated becomes Ecstasy. It becomes super-saturated and craves for expression. I have quoted Mother – She used to wake up at 2 o’ clock in the morning and ask for work. People asked her why she bothered herself. She said, “My body is full of ecstasy, unless it is expressed in work it comes back as a stabbing pain into my being. I need to express my love and ecstasy in work”. This ecstasy can be expressed only in one way. It can surrender. It leads to surrender. It cannot express in any other act. It cannot express itself in a bargain, in a relation, in something which asks for a return. It can simply surrender itself to the highest term which has made itself ecstatic. These are the nine stages of the Yoga of Devotion which leads to Surrender.