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The Book on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

  June 24, 1975

The aim of the book is to reach the intelligent aspiring average reader. By an average reader in the West I mean one who has completed high school and whose general intelligence is average or above it. My own feeling is in the age group of 18-28 there is a considerable amount of seeking (in practice grouping). There is another group between 25-30 that is, after long effort, disillusioned. The first is curious and the 2nd is cautious. There is another which splits into two, viz. (1) Having got into touch with Sri Aurobindo they were moved but due to lack of fuller, firmer grasp of the teachings or the technique, they have leveled off; but retain more marginal interest and (2) Having come to Sri Aurobindo with unrealistic hopes, fell back disappointed.

The book is expected to evoke a response from the 18-28 group and protect it from the subsequent pitfalls especially by awakening the emotional centre which can be relied on to a greater extent and explaining the innate nature of yogic endeavour. The group of 25-30 I mention, has become disillusioned because of the unclear atmosphere that surrounds yogic cults. A clear explanation of any yoga, its dependence on rituals, mantras and how by a wider effort in Integral Yoga the dependence can be dispensed with in favour of a deeper result, can put things in clear perspective and their caution well met. The third group has leveled off either because they began from where they were not or because they had missed the real import of the terms used. The last group is generally hopeless but there must have been a spark in them which has brought them to Sri Aurobindo. This spark will not die but will be submerged under other forces. The spark must be addressed to constantly and the person must be actively discouraged from venturing further. Keeping the spark alive is more than enough for him.

Presently I choose a narrative form for the writing. You must imagine you are addressing a young, curious, intelligent listener who has heard of so many things but not anything in clear terms. His curiosity and intelligence are the assets. His youth and inexperience are the hazards. A thread of narrative must be woven, it is a narrative of earth's evolution with the kernel of the inner spirit evolving too. The landmarks etched out, the LIVES, TEACHINGS of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Ashram, Auroville, physical evolution making possible spiritual evolution must all be fixed in different places. The language used must be non-philosophical but a minimum of mere common words of spirituality can be employed. The central aspects of yoga like Prayer, consecration, aspiration, gratitude, surrender, purity, concentration, must in the course of the narrative be found natural placements so that the context rather than the definition explains it better. Of course there must be a definition too!

The aspects of Spirit like Silence, Peace, Immortality, Light, Bliss, Power, Eternity, Infinity must be given such places for explanation that a little of it will emerge during the course of reading. At least one of them should be given such clear exposition which will exclude the normal mistake of the physical meaning. Sanskrit root meaning is best cited.

The western reader will begin to understand and begin to respond to the consciousness in the book only if he does not ‘read' it as he reads the other books. The context the book is trying to evolve is one where such a mental approach will begin to wear off and a fresh one emerge.

Mother's way of life, illustrated at least once in the book, where SHE is the universal Mother, must come next to the explanation of her universal personality.

Ashram as the microcosm, as it was intended, as it is now can be given a few pages.

Yoga of earth must be shown as something which is ever present and all of us are part of it and what is indicated by this book, if one chooses, he can be a conscious part of it. It can be live and happy but not easy. It becomes easy only when the surrender is complete.

Some experiences Sri Aurobindo speaks of can be relived in some measure and later explained so that there will be a communication to the reader.

The entire writing must be passed through the mental part of the emotional being so that the reader is constantly reached through his heart.

Quotations can be there but should not exceed a dozen, each a phrase or half a sentence and never more.

The writing is best passed through the different stages through which the writer passed.

It is a self-experience, emotionalized, shared with the listener for mutual enjoyment.

Thoughts and phrases of Mother and Sri Aurobindo must be assimilated into the body of the writing in such a way that the writing is not strained.

At the end of the reading the reader should feel the elevation of consciousness and when he resorts to the writings of Mother and Sri Aurobindo he must not come across any new principles of their Yoga.

It must raise the different questions other yogic adherents may raise and answer them. This can be in principle and not in detail.

A continuous non-book form narrative which is punctuated by events of life (Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's), spiritual experiences of theirs, description of yogic principles, practices, must at each stage freshly start relating to the present state of the listener's life. This will be very dilute from yogic point of view, but very rich (not serious) from the listener's point of view.

The theme of All Life is Yoga must be found invisibly buried all over.

The interesting revelation of human nature must form an essential part of it, however brief.

You may remember how everyone who saw the "Consciousness Approach to Management" (CAM) felt that all those were principles well known to be Mother's but they never thought of it in the case of life situations. CAM says not one word Mother has not repeated a dozen times and the disciples ignored as they took it for granted and therefore it is not to be practiced.

With the explanation of terms like prayer, aspiration, etc. and Silence, Light, etc. it is possible to produce on the reader quite conversant with Sri Aurobindo the same sense of pleasant surprise. For the fresh reader the experience will be fresh.

If ever it could be shown clearly that Sri Aurobindo's principles of yoga are only the result of having realized the ‘scientific' principles of earth's evolving life, the western mind (and through the excuse of it his soul) can be taken by storm. And they really are. It is possible to show it. Only that I would prefer to impress on the reader this truth without advancing even one argument in its favour. The general texture of the book will be so woven that after reading it, it is the involuntary turn of the reader to exclaim it. Unadvanced arguments when they contain a full quota of Truth, get confirmed out of the mouth of the listener or even the rival. There need be no conscious indirect attempt too! In our own deep understanding if the principle is grasped well, the writing will communicate it.

A short chapter on Supramental Time vision is necessary.

It can also be shown that Integral Yoga and its principles and practice need not confine themselves to yogic practice. In all walks of life it can be practiced. The practice is not overt. It is by inner self control. Beginning from domestic situations leading up to world politics one can practice it. It is left to the individual.

Our propagation is not mainly through the usual channels of mass media. Essentially it is the inner ripeness that overflows in factious vibration that takes this yoga to other kindred souls. To make it possible in that inner plane an outer token is necessary. The external effort represents that token only.

A yogic opportunity fully utilized matured in the being of the sadhak and issues out to the outer world as innumerable opportunities in the plane of mind and later in life. If the yogic opportunity is missed by the sadhak, he himself gets the secondary options as opportunities in his mental, vital lives. This is an interesting aspect of the book as Integral yoga when it releases a force through a sadhak makes itself effective somewhere or somehow. It never disappears. That is its significance. The force is in the earth and does effectuate. What may change is the plane.

The book may be called: Mother's Consciousness; Supramental Consciousness; the Evolving Spirit of the Earth; Sri Aurobindo, the Pure Consciousness; The Mother and Sri Aurobindo; Mind, Spirit and Supermind; All Life is Yoga; The Yoga of the Divine; The Yoga of the Spirit; Purana Yoga; Supramental Yoga; the Higher Consciousness; The Guru of the World; The Life in Spirit; The Life of the Spirit; The Journey of Life towards Yoga; The West Matures into the East; Spirit - A Flower of Life.

One of the methods I would prefer is to approach the problem of explaining each aspect or term of spirituality keeping an analogy from life in mind. Each such item is the final stage leading to which there are number of steps in life. For instance, FAITH will be rejected by the rational mind. But when you come to life Faith in mental rules, vital safety, emotional happiness, physical security are all things one takes for granted every minute of his life. In all rational systems FAITH smuggles in from all sides either on the margins or even centrally. Looked at carefully all rational life is based on faith which we do not recognize as faith. Either controlling or canceling such a faith is not given to an individual. Take the case of a complete rationalist and examine a day of his life. His food, he has to have faith that there is no food poison; his work, he has to be sure he will not be dropped by his institution; his travel out and back relies on the faith that others will observe the traffic rules; his temper, he must be sure his nerves will save him; his bank, he must be able to believe that it still exists. Above all the responses from his various friends, what can he rely upon except taking for granted good behaviour. In every man's life such aspects are there. We shall work out the gradation with illustrations of physical faith, vital faith, mental faith, and then move to spiritual faith.

These things are best thought out, spoken out, and written in pieces before they gather momentum when it is best to suspend thought and let the inspiration work.

Right from the beginning to the very end the richness of the writing may vary in its intensity but should always keep a certain level below which it should not be allowed to fall. This can be done by eliminating areas and terms of writing where the writer has responded only mentally and not experienced it. The basis must be one's own rewarding experiencing. If not a full round spiritual experience at least there must be an experience in the spiritualised parts of the mind. A minimum of imaginative experience must be kept. One of the preparations to write is to take each term we are going to deal with and subject it to imaginative, mental, spiritual experiences.

Man accepts from the lips of a great personality what he has heard so many times but was indifferent to and would not accept. That is the strength of personality. So also writing that issues out of experience has the weight for the reader which is missing otherwise. Readers are apt to say "I know it so well, but never understood in this light. Now it makes sense!" To make sensible what was heard or understood, is the purpose of this writing.

Until I wrote the Consecration Paper, I was not aware of the magnitude of indifference in people. Without exception, I found people not offering to Mother their activities. There was not even conscious attempt. Not that they do not know; but that they had not practiced. As the paper was the result of intense practice in the Farm, it was taken note of by the reader. Initially there was response from everyone. Now I ask for a wider effort. This will have conscious, practical support of inner practice and outer field practice. Of course, the general atmosphere will be inimical this time too! But already there are good feelings for various reasons. The atmosphere is mixed. Our effort is taken in the USA, away from the eye of the storm of jealousy. When it establishes itself it can move here. Already I see positive symptoms. (1) Conscious Approach to Business Management was published in 2 Indian journals; (2) Hindu published the articles and there was unanimous praise for the articles. The positive atmosphere is thus strengthened.

The negative atmosphere is active in the persons, now partially, but the positive atmosphere is active by itself. Consecration is the only thing that can be spoken to people. How to explain purity or invite people to practice it? The central consciousness is one and the same. It is expressed in the field of one of these terms. There are some terms which are apparently unrelated. They have to be dealt with separately.

For instance in the listed principles on CAM numbering over 60, each principle has more than one example. In fact these principles are statements extracted out of these instances. When we begin to observe life and experience each such term, yoga in its absolute aspect begins. As the absolute experience cannot be explained, we choose an illustration. The weight of the pure experience and the clarity of its incidence in life are to be seen by you by a fresh round of planned effort. I am sure you will enjoy it. It is pure spiritual experience. Writing the book is an expression of that experience.

When I say earlier that the negative atmosphere is in the persons I mean that it is not there around us but out of the active initiative of kind souls their capacity is brought out. The positive atmosphere has not yet found active exponents in human individuals with whom we are to relate at a distance. But it is there in abundance in general and in selected individuals around us close.

If only you are lucky to secure persons of goodwill around you, results will be greater. If not, it is possible to create a team of persons of good will by aspiring for the Divine Will. As long as we react to ill will, and humanly appreciate good will, sadhaks will not get an abundance of it. The Divine Will aspired for may initially unleash an avalanche of ill-will, but later a close strong ring of good willed persons will form and finally a general atmosphere of it will be there.

story | by Dr. Radut