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610. The Westernised Mind

Man loves to follow the straight path. The desire to avoid the crooked ways of life is the noble impulse of a rational mind. But all paths to great accomplishments are not straight. This is true of many small results too. Common sense often defies the straight path. This is so because MAN with the greatest faculties is not always rational. Events, small and big, are irrational. They love to be irrational and laugh at the childishness of the human mind that adores the admirable straight path.  He who insists on the STRAIGHT path insists on complete folly and ensures no results in anything he undertakes. The idiom ‘more than meets the eye' metaphorically expresses this subtle idea of life.

Life is complex, subtle, devious, mysterious, as it is a true expression of the Original Spirit. All those who are lucky know this aspect of life and honour it to their credit. There are times when a whole community to a man is up in arms against an idealist. They are dangerous times when such a man can be wiped out by a whiff of the angry breath of the society. I have been at pains to draw the attention of the pious population to this great fact, especially when life comes to one as LUCK. At such moments, desire for the straight path will turn out to be foolish stiffness that avoids luck. In 1964 three civil rights workers, two of them white and the third Black, came from Washington to Mississippi and were shot dead with the collusion of the police. Mississippi in 1964 was a State which was consumed by racial prejudice. No man or woman, white or Black, would testify against this angry mood. The people defied the law and its enforcing officers. A young, educated FBI officer along with an elderly assistant Anderson came to Mississippi to identify the culprits and punish them. Harvard education had given the young officer what is known as the westernised mind.

The elderly assistant was from a place similar to Mississippi and had the life knowledge which is subtle. The straight procedures of the FBI officer provoked the local population who burned the houses of the Blacks. The assistant Anderson was oppressed. He knew how to go about it, but it would not be according to the procedures. The officer and Anderson quarrelled. The officer relented. Anderson had his way. He adopted the same tricks of the hostile white population, set up quarrels among their leadership, kidnapped the Mayor and successfully collected all the evidence. He avoided the State Court which was bitterly prejudiced against the Blacks, approached the Federal Court under another provision, and got all the top criminals punished.  It was a success of LIFE. The officer was suffering from a superstition of procedures which is the characteristic of the westernised mind. It cannot accomplish. It can only spoil or ruin. In India, we have not only subtle knowledge but subtle knowledge that is spiritual. Sri Aurobindo's Force gives a further evolutionary dimension to that Spirit. We must be at pains to discover our treasure in life and Spirit.

story | by Dr. Radut