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November 26, 1971

I employ this phrase "work in a village" because that is what people, people of all descriptions, ask me about. Really it is WORK, where, it matters little. It is true that we work in a village, we engage in agriculture, but to approach it as such initially inhibits the essence of what we mean to do. Surely there is no dearth of social work and social workers and clearly social work is not the contemplated goal of SRI AUROBINDO'S YOGA.

Then, what are we to do? Coming nearer home WHAT ARE WE DOING? So far I have scarcely had an opportunity to share my thoughts with anyone seriously or in full detail. To two persons I have addressed myself on this; one who is in the thick of work who refuses to listen; the other who is not yet there but listens to the theory behind perhaps because he is not yet in it.

The foremost thing I have in mind and in view is, any work, agriculture or village development, must issue out of OUR work that is yoga and not be a parallel to it, much less claim precedence over it. The WORK is to elevate the consciousness, here the consciousness of people and things among whom we work. The work is entirely independent of the field in which it is done. The true spirit is revealed in a recent Mother's message that says: humanity can pray to her for anything, whereas She expects of it nothing for the fulfillment of her mission. We are to be a center of the higher Consciousness and radiate that higher consciousness to the people, animals, plants, soil, and the life circumstances wherein we are embedded; the center is independent of the field but decides the shape of the future of it. The field should never determine the nature of working of the centre.

How is this done in practice? What are the major contours of its landscape? How do we commune with the Consciousness of aspects that are not human beings? What are the difficulties faced in the course of this endeavour and how are we facing them? Are some of the questions that present themselves to us.

Hundreds and thousands of human moments, field items, social situations, work events, the unnoticed hours of God have presented to us in the last few years, and work approached as a field of evoking consciousness lends significance and colour to the observation and study of them. In that psychological context life acquires a meaning, every moment becomes pregnant, an authentic source of study, another confirmation of God's presence in life. Looked at as work, it is old life, dead wood, beside the point. The very initiation of work must be not mental, not from the mind: to do so will be like a sadhak going back to family life and pro-creation. Mind is rational. Nothing here should be subjected to rationality. That is to submit the higher to the laws of the lower, to work backwards. But what to do. The mind is there all the time and insistently. There is a way of making the mind function in such a way that working smoothly leads the work away from the mind. It is our repeated experience that mind launched into planning after Consecration leads to work that could have been planned only by inspiration or revelation. To insist on mental rules is to insist on old life.

Any work is to be taken, not chosen by preference or planning, and when taken is to be enlarged in the context of the inner life and its central reference; and projected as such in the field of life with one to one correspondence to the points outside and inside. The outer work field expresses the inner psychological poise and one can see the inner moving towards the outer and finding its full expression. Rather both are the same movement, one observing it at the inner end, the end where alone he is a master of the field. When things go wrong the needed adjustments are made at the inner end and in a trice the outer falls in its right place and into right shape.

We work in a society that aggressively represents the old consciousness. Each cross section of it, the commercial, social, agricultural planes represent with great force the strength of the old consciousness. Further still each person, each act, each transaction, each point of contact reveals in rounded perfection what we are grappling with. They constitute the hinterland of obstacles in work. But that does not matter. Each of the above items has a corresponding point in our own personality that entirely belongs to the past. The outer representations of old consciousness are formidable enough but the inner ones are more formidable. When a work comes to us, we consecrate the conception of it and its entire inner psychological dynamics to the Divine and proceed. This is the point of the Higher Consciousness working and our instrumentation. It is a pleasure and great fun to observe that before this slender movement of a consecrated act, the outer and its compeer, the inner representations of the old consciousness, gently move aside leaving the Divine work its full play and fruition. Just then, our WILL, the Centre of our personality, or whatever it is, sometimes moves towards its old habits, thereby moves the center of function to the old consciousness. Mishaps, lapses, failures, disasters are witnesses in the field of work. The only thing to be done is to re-establish the WILL at the new center. Till then nothing can be done. This shifting of center of function involves effort; and that is the only effort called for.

That the old society, old personality, the old functions are well organized is true; but there are enough chinks in its armour. The new approach should find access through these points; only through these points. Even as a concession or a compromise the old should not be given a lease of rightful life; the old can be accommodated for the very purpose of future dissolution.

Surely life in any village is a great field for such experiments. It has been our constant experience that even village life lends itself to be worked upon. The very moment we move from our new inner center and appeal to corresponding favourable points in the fabric of their life, results are INSTANTANEOUS. The same day new things present, all circumstances acquire a new look, great possibilities open up.

The very field in which we are to live and function are inimical to our survival, the least error in tact, the least mistake in execution will make the old organize itself into a formidable foe. When perched in our right poise one can see how he is the full master of the psychological situation in its comprehensiveness, though the least indulgence of the past makes you the play thing of the same erstwhile controlled circumstances.

The old consciousness had its own territory in our psychological make up. These we should be wary of, all eyes, vigilant. The old consciousness often succeeds in converting our FREE WILL into its own ambassador in this territory. That is the fatal flaw in our functioning. Sincerity makes for safety. It safe-guards against the defection of our free will.

To do this oneself is rewarding, but to secure a colleague is next to impossible. That is made possible only by the intensity of the sincerity. Results are always far reaching.

story | by Dr. Radut