Цветок -
MAY 1997
    All India Magazine:  A monthly magazine of Sri
Aurobindo society. / Editor: K.C. Anand; Published
by Pradeep Narang for Sri  Aurobindo  Society  and
Printed  by  A.R.  Ganguli at Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Press;  Sri Aurobindo Ashram  Trust.-  Pondicherry
[India]. - Volume XXVI, No 10.                    
IN THIS ISSUE
SIGNIFICANCE OF PRAYERS
This year is consecrated to Sri Aurobindo.
    To understand his teaching better and  try  to
put it into practice, is certainly the best way of
showing our gratitude to him for  all  the  light,
knowledge  and  force  which  he has so generously
brought to the earth.                             
    May his  teaching enlighten and guide us,  and
what we cannot do today, we shall do tomorrow.    
                                      - THE MOTHER

Ocean Oneness

Silence is round me, wideness ineffable;      
White birds on the ocean diving and wandering;
A soundless sea on a voiceless heaven,
Azure on azure, is mutely gazing.

Identified with silence and boundlessness     
My spirit widens clasping the universe        
Till all that seemed becomes the Real, 
One in a mighty and single vastness.

Someone broods there nameless and bodiless,    
Conscious and lonely, deathless and infinite,  
And, sole in a still eternal rapture,       
Gathers all things to his heart for ever.

                                     SRI AUROBINDO

CONTENTS
SECTION I: THE SUNLIT WAY
Power and Significance of Prayer
Player and the Divine Glace
Prayer and Determinism
Condition for the Success of a Prayer

SECTION II: ESSAYS DIVINE
Answer to the Fundamental Questions
Yasmin Vijnate Sarvam Vijnatam

SECTION Ill: EXALTING STORIES
Patience and Perseverance

SECTION IV: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Some Explanations

FLOWER  ON  THE COVER - "PRAYER" (Spiritual name
given by the Mother to Zephyranthes - Fairy Lily)

SRI AUROBINDO
Power and Significance of Prayer

5_97_2.jpg (12906 bytes)
    The life  of  man is a life of wants and needs
and therefore of desires, not only in his physical
and vital,  but in his mental and spiritual being.
When he  becomes  conscious  of  a  greater  Power
governing  the  world,  he  approaches  it through
prayer for the fulfilment of his needs,  for  help
in  his  rough journey,  for protection and aid in
his struggle.  Whatever crudities there may be  in
the  ordinary religious approach to God by prayer,
and there are many, especially that attitude which
imagines   the  Divine  as  if  capable  of  being
propitiated,  bribed,  flattered into acquiescence
or  indulgence  by praise,  entreaty and gifts and
has often little regard to the spirit in which  he
is  approached,  still  this way of turning to the
Divine is an essential movement of  our  religious
being and reposes on a universal truth.           
    The efficacy  of  prayer  is often doubted and
prayer itself supposed to be  a  thing  irrational
and necessarily superfluous and ineffective. It is
true that the universal will executes  always  its
aim   and   cannot   be   deflected   by  egoistic
propitiation and  entreaty,  it  is  true  of  the
Transcendent   who   expresses   himself   in  the
universal order that, being omniscient, his larger
knowledge must foresee the thing to be done and it
does not need direction or  stimulation  by  human
thought  and that the individual's desires are not
and cannot  be  in  any   world-order   the   true
determining  factor.  But neither is that order or
the execution of  the  universal  will  altogether
effected  by  mechanical  Law,  but  by powers and
forces of which for human  life  at  least,  human
will, aspiration and faith are not among the least
important.  Prayer is only a particular form given
to that will,  aspiration and faith. Its forms are
very often crude and not only childlike,  which is
in  itself no defect,  but childish;  but still it
has a real power and significance.  Its power  and
sense is to put the will,  aspiration and faith of
man into touch with the divine Will as that  of  a
conscious  Being  with  whom  we  can  enter  into
conscious and living relations.  For our will  and
aspiration  can act either by our own strength and
endeavour,  which can no doubt  be  made  a  thing
great  and  effective  whether for lower or higher
purposes,  - and there are plenty  of  disciplines
which  put it forward as the one force to be used,
- or it  can  act  in  dependence  upon  and  with
subordination to the divine or the universal Will.
And this latter way,  again,  may either look upon
that  Will as responsive indeed to our aspiration,
but almost mechanically,  by  a  sort  of  law  of
energy, or at any rate quite impersonally, or else
it may look upon it as responding  consciously  to
the  divine aspiration and faith of the human soul
and consciously  bringing  to  it  the  help,  the
guidance,  the  protection  and fruition demanded,
 yogaksemam vahamyaham.                             
    Prayer helps  to  prepare this relation for us
at first on the lower plane even while it is there
consistent  with  much  that  is  mere  egoism and
self-delusion;  but afterwards we can draw towards
the spiritual truth which is behind it.  It is not
then the  giving  of  the  thing  asked  for  that
matters,  but the relation itself,  the contact of
man's life with God, the conscious interchange. In
spiritual  matters and in the seeking of spiritual
gains,  this conscious relation is a great  power;
it  is  a much greater power than our own entirely
self-reliant struggle and effort and it  brings  a
fuller    spiritual    growth    and   experience.
Necessarily,  in the end prayer either  ceases  in
the  greater thing for which it prepared us,  - in
fact  the  form  we  call  prayer  is  not  itself
essential  so  long  as the faith,  the will,  the
aspiration are there,  - or remains only  for  the
joy of the relation.  Also its objects, the  artha
or interest it seeks to realise, become higher and
higher  until  we  reach  the  highest  motiveless
devotion,  which is that of divine love  pure  and
simple without any other demand or longing.       
    The relation, which arise out of this attitude
towards the Divine,  are that of the divine Father
and  the  Mother  with  the  child and that of the
divine Friend.  To the Divine as these things  the
human  soul  comes for help,  for protection,  for
guidance,  for fruition,  - or if knowledge be the
aim,  to the Guide,  Teacher,  Giver of light, for
the Divine is the Sun of knowledge,  - or it comes
in  pain  and  suffering for relief and solace and
deliverance, it may be deliverance either from the
suffering itself or from the world-existence which
is the habitat of the suffering or  from  all  its
inner  and  real  causes.1 In these things we find
there is a certain gradation.  For the relation of
fatherhood   is   always   less   close,  intense,
passionate,  intimate,  and therefore it  is  less
resorted  to  in  the  Yoga  which  seeks  for the
closest union.  That of the  divine  Friend  is  a
thing sweeter  and  more  intimate,  admits  of an
equality and intimacy even in inequality  and  the
beginning  of  mutual self-giving;  at its closest
when all  idea  of   other   giving   and   taking
disappears,  when this relation becomes motiveless
except for the one sole  all-sufficing  motive  of
love, it turns into the free and happy relation of
the playmate in the Lila of existence.  But closer
and  more  intimate  still  is the relation of the
Mother and the child,  and that therefore plays  a
very  large part wherever the religious impulse is
most richly fervent and springs most  warmly  from
the heart of man. The soul goes to the Mother-Soul
in all its desires and troubles,  and  the  Divine
Mother  wishes  that it should be so,  so that she
may pour out her heart of love.  It turns  to  her
too  because  of  the self-existent nature of this
love and  because  that  points  us  to  the  home
towards  which  we turn from our wanderings in the
world and to the bosom in which we find our  rest.
But  the highest and the greatest relation is that
which starts from none of the  ordinary  religious
motives,  but  is  rather  of  the very essence of
Yoga, springs from the very nature of love itself;
it  is  the  passion of the Lover and the Beloved.
Wherever there is the desire of the soul  for  its
utter  union  with  God,  this  form of the divine
yearning makes its way....                        
When one has the vision in the heart,  everything,
Nature   and   Thought   and   Action,  ideas  and
occupations and  tastes  and  objects  become  the
Beloved  and  are  a  source  of  ecstasy.        
                                     Sri Aurobindo

Prayer and the Divine Grace
Words of the Mother
    Sweet Mother,   if  one  needs  something  for
example,  one wants to know something or one needs
guidance,  or something else,  how can one have it
from the Divine, according to one's need?         
    By asking the Divine for it. If you do not ask
Him, how can you have it?                         
    If you  turn to the Divine and have full trust
and ask Him,  you will get what  you  need  -  not
necessarily  what  you  imagine you need;  but the
true thing you need,  you will get.  But you  must
ask Him for it.                                   
    You must make the  experiment  sincerely;  you
must  not  endeavour  to  get  it  by all sorts of
external means and then expect the Divine to  give
it to you,  without even having asked Him. Indeed,
when you want somebody to give you something,  you
ask him for it,  don't you?  And why do you expect
the Divine to give it to you without  your  having
asked Him for it?                                 
    In the ordinary consciousness the movement  is
just the opposite.  You assume something,  saying,
"I need this,  I need this  relationship,  I  need
this affection,  I need this knowledge, etc. Well,
the Divine ought to give it to me, otherwise He is
not  the Divine." That is to say,  you reverse the
problem completely.                               
    First of all,  you say,  "I need." Do you know
whether you truly need it or whether it is only an
impression you  have  or  a  desire  or  quite  an
ignorant movement?  First point:  you know nothing
about it.                                         
    Second point:  it is precisely your  own  will
you  want to impose upon the Divine,  telling Him,
"I need this." And then you don't even ask Him for
it:  "Give  it  to  me."  You  say,  "I  need  it.
Therefore,  since I need it,  it must come to  me,
quite naturally,  spontaneously; it's the Divine's
job to give me all that I need."                  
    But if it so happens that truly you don't know
what you need and it is merely an illusion and not
a truth and that,  into the bargain,  you  ask  it
from life around you and don't turn to the Divine,
don't create any relationship between yourself and
Him,  don't  think  of  Him or turn to Him with at
least some sincerity in your  attitude,  then,  as
you  ask nothing from Him,  there is no reason for
Him to give you anything.                         
    But if you ask Him,  as He is  the  Divine  He
knows  a little better than you what you need;  He
will give you what you need.                      
    Or else, if you insist and want to impose your
own  will,  He may give you what you want in order
to enlighten you and make you  conscious  of  your
mistake,  that  it  was  truly  not  the thing you
needed.  And then you begin to protest -  I  don't
mean  you  personally,  I am speaking of all human
beings - and you say, "Why has the Divine given me
something which harms me?" - completely forgetting
that it was you who asked for it!  In  both  cases
you protest all the same. If He gives you what you
ask and then that brings you more harm than  good,
you protest. And again, if He doesn't give it, you
also protest: "What! I told Him I needed it and He
doesn't give it to me."                           
    In both cases you protest, and the poor Divine
is accused.                                       
    Only, if instead of all that,  you simply have
an aspiration within  you,  an  urge,  an  intense
ardent need to find That,  which you conceive more
or less clearly to be the Truth of your being, the
Source of all things, the supreme Good, the Answer
to all we desire, the Solution to all problems; if
there  is  this intense need in you and you aspire
to realise it,  you won't any longer  say  to  the
Divine,  "Give me this, give me that", or, "I need
this,  I must have that." You will tell  Him,  "Do
what  is necessary for me and lead me to the Truth
of my being.  Give me what  Thou  in  Thy  supreme
Wisdom seest as the thing I need."                
    And then  you  are sure of not being mistaken,
and He will not give  you  something  which  harms
you.                                              
    There is  a  still  higher  step,  but  it's a
little more difficult to begin with that.         
    But the  first  one  is  already  a much truer
approach than that of telling the Divine,  "I need
this.  Give it to me." For indeed, very few people
really know what they need -  very  few.  And  the
proof  of it is that they are always in pursuit of
the fulfilment of their desires,  all their effort
is  bent  upon  that,  and  each time one of their
desires is fulfilled,  they are disappointed.  And
they pass on to another.                          
    And after much seeking,  making many mistakes,
suffering a good deal and being very disappointed,
then,  sometimes,  one begins  to  grow  wise  and
wonders if there isn't a way out of all this, that
is to  say,  a  way  to  come  out  of  one's  own
ignorance.                                        
    And it is then, at that moment that one can do
this (Mother opens her arms):  "Here I am, take me
and lead me along the true path."                 
    Then all begins to go well.                   
*
...if one  has ...  trust in the divine Grace,  if
one has the faith that there is something  in  the
world   like  the  divine  Grace,  and  that  this
something can answer a prayer,  an aspiration,  an
invocation,   then,   after  making  one's  mental
formation,  if one offers it to the Grace and puts
one's  trust  in it,  asks it to intervene and has
the faith that it will intervene,  then indeed one
has a chance of success.                          
    Try, and you will surely see the result.      

    But, Mother,  when one prays sincerely for the
intervention of the Grace,  doesn't one  expect  a
particular result?                                
Excuse me,  that  depends  on  the  tenor  of  the
prayer.  If one simply invokes the  Grace  or  the
Divine,  and  puts oneself in His hands,  one does
not  expect  a  particular  result.  To  expect  a
particular result one must formulate one's prayer,
must ask for something.  If you have only a  great
aspiration  for  the  divine  Grace  and evoke it,
implore  it,  without  asking  it   for   anything
precise, it is the Grace which will choose what it
will do for you, not you.                         
    That is better, isn't it?                     
    Ah! that's quite another question.            
    Why, it is higher in its quality, perhaps. But
still,  if  one  wants  something  precise,  it is
better to formulate  it.  If  one  has  a  special
reason  for  invoking  the Grace,  it is better to
formulate it precisely and clearly.               
    Of course,  if one is in a state  of  complete
surrender  and  gives  oneself  entirely,  if  one
simply offers oneself to the Grace and lets it  do
what it likes,  that is very good.  But after that
one must not question what it does! One  must  not
say to it, "Oh! I did that with the idea of having
this", for if one really has the idea of obtaining
something,  it  is  better  to formulate it in all
sincerity,  simply,   just   as   one   sees   it.
Afterwards,  it  is  for the Grace to choose if it
will do it or not;  but in any case, one will have
formulated  clearly what one wanted.  And there is
no harm in that.                                  
    Where it becomes bad is when  the  request  is
not  granted  and  one revolts.  Then naturally it
becomes  bad.  It  is  at  that  moment  one  must
understand   that  the  desire  one  has,  or  the
aspiration, may not have been very enlightened and
that perhaps one has asked for something which was
not exactly what was good for one.  Then  at  that
moment one must be wise and say simply, "Well, let
Thy Will be done." But so long as one has an inner
perception  and  an inner preference,  there is no
harm in formulating  it.  It  is  a  very  natural
movement.                                         
    For example,  if one has been foolish  or  has
made  a  mistake  and one truly,  sincerely wishes
never to do it again,  well,  I don't see any harm
in asking for it.  And in fact, if one asks for it
with sincerity, a true inner sincerity, there is a
great chance that it will be granted.             
    You must not think that the  Divine  likes  to
contradict you. He is not at all keen on doing it!
He can see better than you what is really good for
you;   but  it  is  only  when  it  is  absolutely
indispensable that  He  opposes  your  aspiration.
Otherwise He is always ready to give what you ask.

Prayer and Determinism
Words of the Mother
Up there is the domain of absolute freedom.... Who
tells you that a sufficiently sincere  aspiration,
a  sufficiently  intense  prayer is not capable of
changing the path of the unrolling ?              
    This means that all is possible.              
    Now, one must have a sufficient aspiration and
a prayer that's sufficiently intense. But that has
been  given  to  human  nature.  It  is one of the
marvellous gifts of grace given to  human  nature;
only, one does not know how to make use of it.    
    This comes to saying that in spite of the most
absolute determinisms in the horizontal  line,  if
one  knows how to cross all these horizontal lines
and reach the highest Point of consciousness,  one
is  able to make things change,  things apparently
absolutely determined.  So you may call it by  any
name you like,  but it is a kind of combination of
an absolute determinism with an absolute  freedom.
You  may  pull  yourself  out of it in any way you
like, but it is like that....                     
    When you say "determinism" and  when  you  say
"freedom", you say only words and all that is only
a very incomplete,  very approximate and very weak
description  of  what  is  in  reality within you,
around you and everywhere; and to be able to begin
to understand what the universe is,  you must come
out of your mental formulas,  otherwise  you  will
never understand anything.                        
    To tell the truth,  if you live only a moment,
just  a  tiny  moment,  of this absolutely sincere
aspiration or this  sufficiently  intense  prayer,
you  will  know more things than by meditating for
hours.                                            
    Q: You have said here that we are "tied to the
chain of Kama", but then sometimes when the Divine
Grace acts, that contradicts...                   
Completely, the     Divine     Grace    completely
contradicts Karma; you know. It makes it melt away
like butter that's put in the sun.                
    That is  what I was saying just now....  There
you are,  if you have an aspiration that's sincere
enough or a prayer that's intense enough,  you can
bring down  in  you  Something  that  will  change
everything,   everything   -   truly   it  changes
everything.  An  example  may  be  given  that  is
extremely limited, very small, but which makes you
understand things very well:  a stone falls  quite
mechanically; say, a tile falls; if it gets loose,
it will fall,  won't it?  But if there comes,  for
example,   a  vital  or  mental  determinism  from
someone who passes by and does not want it to fall
and  puts his hand out,  it will fall on his hand,
but it will not fall on  the  ground.  So  he  has
changed  the destiny of this stone or tile.  It is
another determinism that has come in,  and instead
of  the  stone falling on the head of someone,  it
falls upon the hand and it will not kill  anybody.
This is an intervention from another plane, from a
conscious will that enters into the more  or  less
unconscious mechanism....                         
    The key,  as I  told  you  just  now,  is  the
sufficiently    sincere    aspiration    or    the
sufficiently intense prayer. I said "or", but I do
not  think  it is "or".  There are people who like
one better and others the other. But in both there
is a magical power,  you must know how to make use
of it....                                         
    Some dislike prayer; if they entered deep into
their heart,  they would find it was pride - worse
than that,  vanity.  And then there are those  who
have  no  aspiration,  they  try  and  they cannot
aspire;  it is because they do not have the  flame
of  the  will,  it is because they do not have the
flame of humility.                                
    Both are needed.  There must be a  very  great
humility  and  a  very  great will to change one's
Karma.                                            
*
...need for   miracles  must  be  changed  into  a
conscious aspiration  for  something  -  which  is
already  there,  which  exists  -  which  will  be
manifested fry the help of all these  aspirations;
all  these  aspirations  are necessary or,  if one
looks  at  it  in  a  truer  way,  they   are   an
accompaniment  -  an  agreeable accompaniment - in
the eternal unfolding.                            
    Of course,  people with a  very  strict  logic
tell you, "Why pray? Why aspire? Why ask? The Lord
does what He wants and He will do what He  wants."
It  is quite obvious,  there is no need to say it,
but this impulse: "O Lord, manifest!" gives a more
intense vibration to His manifestation.           
    Otherwise, He  would never have made the world
as it is.  There is a  special  power,  a  special
delight,  a  special vibration in the intensity of
the world's aspiration to become once more what it
is.                                               
    And that  is  why  -  partly,  fragmentarily -
there is an evolution.                            
    An eternally   perfect   universe,   eternally
manifesting the eternal perfection, would lack the
joy of progress.                                  

Condition for the Success of a Prayer 
Words of the Mother
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    The most  important  condition  is  an  almost
childlike  trust,  the candid trust of a child who
is sure that it will come,  who doesn't  even  ask
himself  about  it;  when he needs something he is
sure that it is going to come.  Well,  it is this,
this  kind  of  trust  -  this  indeed is the most
important condition.                              
    To aspire is indispensable.  But  some  people
aspire  with  such  a conflict inside them between
faith and absence of faith,  trust  and  distrust,
between  the optimism which is sure of victory and
a pessimism which asks itself when the catastrophe
will  come.  Now if this is in the being,  you may
aspire but you don't get anything. And you say, "I
aspired  but  didn't  get anything." It is because
you demolish your aspiration all the time by  your
lack of confidence. But if you truly have trust...
Children when left to themselves and not  deformed
by  older  people have such a great trust that all
will be well! For example, when they have a small
accident,  they  never think that this is going to
be  something  serious:  they  are   spontaneously
convinced  that  it  will  soon be over,  and this
helps so powerfully in putting an end to it.      
    Well, when one aspires for the Force, when one
asks  the  Divine  for help,  if one asks with the
unshakable certitude that it will come, that it is
impossible that it won't, then it is sure to come.
It is this kind....  yes,  this is truly an  inner
opening,  this  trustfulness.  And some people are
constantly in this state.  When there is something
to  be received,  they are always there to receive
it.  There are others,  when there is something to
have,  a  force descends,  they are always absent,
they are always closed at that moment; while those
who  have this childlike trust are always there at
the right time.                                   
    And it is strange,  isn't it,  outwardly there
is  no difference.  They may have exactly the same
goodwill, the same aspiration, the same wish to do
good,  but  those who have this smiling confidence
within  them,  do  not  question,   do   not   ask
themselves  whether  they will have it or not have
it,  whether the Divine will answer or not  -  the
question   does   not   arise,   it  is  something
understood... "What I need will be given to me; if
I  pray  I  shall  have  an  answer;  if I am in a
difficulty and ask for help,  the help will come -
and  not  only  will  it  come  but it will manage
everything." If the trust is  there,  spontaneous,
candid,   unquestioning,   it  works  better  than
anything else,  and the results are marvellous. It
is  with the contradictions and doubts of the mind
that one spoils  everything,  with  this  kind  of
notion  which  comes  when one is in difficulties:
"Oh,  it is impossible!  I shall never manage  it.
And  if  it  is  going  to be aggravated,  if this
condition I am in, which I don't want, is going to
grow  still  worse,  if  I  continue to slide down
farther and farther, if, if, if, if..." like that,
and  one  builds  a  wall  between oneself and the
force one wants to receive.  The psychic being has
this trust,  has it wonderfully, without a shadow,
without an argument,  without a contradiction. And
when it is like that,  there is not a prayer which
does not get an answer, no aspiration which is not
realised.                                         

Answer to the Fundamental Questions 
Words ot Sri Aurobindo
    It is   not   to   be   denied,  no  spiritual
experience will deny that this is an  unideal  and
unsatisfactory  world,  strongly  marked  with the
stamp of inadequacy,  suffering, evil. Indeed this
perception  is  in a way the starting-point of the
spiritual urge - except for the few  to  whom  the
greater  experience  comes  spontaneously  without
being forced to it by the strong or  overwhelming,
the  afflicting  and detaching sense of the Shadow
overhanging the whole  range  of  this  manifested
existence.  But still the question remains whether
this is indeed,  as is  contended,  the  essential
character of all manifestation or so long at least
as there is a physical world it must  be  of  this
nature,  so that the desire of birth,  the will to
manifest or create  has  to  be  regarded  as  the
original   sin   and   withdrawal  from  birth  or
manifestation  as  the  sole   possible   way   of
salvation.  For  those  who perceive it so or with
some kindred  look  -  and  these  have  been  the
majority  - there are well-known ways of issue,  a
straightout to spiritual deliverance.  But equally
it may not be so but only seem so to our ignorance
or to a partial knowledge - the imperfection,  the
evil,   the   suffering   may   be   a   besetting
circumstance or a dolorous passage,  but  not  the
very  condition  of  manifestation,  not  the very
essence of birth in Nature. And if so, the highest
wisdom  will  lie  not in escape,  but in the urge
towards  a   victory   here,   in   a   consenting
association  with the Will behind the world,  in a
discovery of  the  spiritual  gate  to  perfection
which  will be at the same time an opening for the
entire descent of  the  Divine  Light,  Knowledge,
Power, Beatitude.                                 
    All spiritual experience affirms that there is
a   Permanent   above   the   transience  of  this
manifested world  we  live  in  and  this  limited
consciousness in whose narrow borders we grope and
struggle and that  its  characters  are  infinity,
self-existence,  freedom, absolute Light, absolute
Beatitude.  Is there  then  an  unbridgeable  gulf
between  that  which  is  beyond and that which is
here or are they two perpetual opposites and  only
by  leaving  this  adventure  in  Time behind,  by
overleaping the gulf can men  reach  the  Eternal?
That is what seems to be at the end of one line of
experience which has been followed to its rigorous
conclusion   by   Buddhism   and   a  little  less
rigorously  by  a   certain   type   of   Monistic
spirituality  which  admits some connection of the
world with the Divine,  but still opposes them  in
the  last  resort  to  each  other  as  truth  and
illusion.  But  there  is  also  this  other   and
indubitable  experience that the Divine is here in
everything as well as above and behind everything,
that  all  is  in That and is That when we go back
from its  appearance  to  its  Reality.  It  is  a
significant and illumining fact that the Knower of
Brahman even moving and acting in this world, even
bearing all its shocks,  can live in some absolute
peace, light and beatitude of the Divine. There is
then here something other than that mere trenchant
opposition - there is a mystery,  a problem  which
one  would think must admit of some less desperate
solution. This spiritual possibility points beyond
itself  and brings a ray of hope into the darkness
of our fallen existence.                          
    And at  once a first question arises - is this
world  an  unchanging  succession  of   the   same
phenomena always or is there in it an evolutionary
urge,  an evolutionary fact, a ladder of ascension
somewhere  from  an original apparent Inconscience
to a more and more developed  consciousness,  from
each  development  still  ascending,  emerging  on
highest heights not yet within our  normal  reach?
If   so,   what  is  the  sense,  the  fundamental
principle,  the logical issue of that progression?
Everything seems to point to such a progression as
a fact - to a spiritual and not merely a  physical
evolution.  Here too there is a justifying line of
spiritual experience in which we discover that the
Inconscient  from  which  all  starts  is apparent
only, for in it there is an involved Consciousness
with  endless  possibilities,  a consciousness not
limited but cosmic and infinite,  a concealed  and
self- imprisoned Divine,  imprisoned in Matter but
with every potentiality held in its secret depths.
Out    of    this   apparent   Inconscience   each
potentiality  is  revealed  in  its  turn,   first
organised Matter concealing the indwelling Spirit,
then Life emerging in the plant and associated  in
the  animal with a growing Mind,  then Mind itself
evolved and organised in Man. This evolution, this
spiritual progression - does it stop short here in
the imperfect mental being called Man ?  Or is the
secret of it simply a succession of rebirths whose
only purpose of issue is  to  labour  towards  the
point  at  which  it  can  learn its own futility,
renounce  itself  and  take  its  leap  into  some
original unborn Existence or Non-Existence?  There
is at least the  possibility,  there  comes  at  a
certain  point the certitude,  that there is a far
greater consciousness than what we call Mind,  and
that  by ascending the ladder still farther we can
find a point at which the  hold  of  the  material
Inconscience,   the  vital  and  mental  Ignorance
ceases;  a  principle  of  consciousness   becomes
capable   of  manifestation  which  liberates  not
partially,  not  imperfectly,  but  radically  and
wholly this imprisoned Divine. In this vision each
stage of evolution appears as due to  the  descent
of  a  higher  and  higher Power of consciousness,
raising the  terrestrial  level,  creating  a  new
stratum, but the highest yet remain to descend and
it  is  by  their  descent  that  the  riddle   of
terrestrial  existence  will  receive its solution
and not only the soul but Nature herself find  her
deliverance. This is the Truth which has been seen
in flashes, in more and more entirety of its terms
by  the  line  of seers whom the Tantra would call
the hero-seekers and the divine-seekers and  which
may  now be nearing the point of readiness for its
full revelation and experience.  Then whatever  be
the  heavy  weight  of  strife  and  suffering and
darkness in the world, yet if there is this as its
high result awaiting us,  all that has gone before
may not be counted too great a price by the strong
and adventurous for the glory that is to come.  At
any rate the shadow lifts; there is a Divine Light
that  leans  over  the  world  and  is  not only a
far-off incommunicable Lustre.                    
    It is  true that the problem still remains why
all this that yet is should have been necessary  -
these  crude  beginnings,  this  long  and  stormy
passage - why should the heavy and  tedious  price
be  demanded,  why  should evil and suffering ever
have been there.  For to the how of the fall  into
the Ignorance as opposed to the why, the effective
cause,  there is a substantial  agreement  in  all
spiritual  experience.  It  is  the division,  the
separation,  the principle of isolation  from  the
Permanent  and  One  that brought it about;  it is
because the ego set up for  itself  in  the  world
emphasising  its own desire and selfaffirmation in
preference to its unity with the  Divine  and  its
oneness with all; it is because instead of the one
supreme  Force,  Wisdom,  Light  determining   the
harmony  of all forces each Idea,  Force,  Form of
things was allowed to work itself out as far as it
could in the mass of infinite possibilities by its
separate  will  and  inevitably  in  the  end   by
conflict with others. Division, ego, the imperfect
consciousness  and  groping  and  struggle  of   a
separate  self-affirmation are the efficient cause
of the suffering and ignorance of this world. Once
consciousnesses    separated    from    the    one
consciousness, they fell inevitably into Ignorance
and the last result of Ignorance was Inconscience;
from a  dark  immense  Inconscient  this  material
world  arises  and  out  of  it  a  soul  that  by
evolution  is   struggling   into   consciousness,
attracted towards the hidden Light,  ascending but
still blindly towards the lost Divinity from which
it came.                                          
    But why should this have happened at all?  One
common  way  of putting the question and answering
it ought to be eliminated from the  first,  -  the
human  way and its ethical revolt and reprobation,
its emotional outcry.  For  it  is  not,  as  some
religions  suppose,  a  supra- cosmic,  arbitrary,
personal Deity himself  altogether  uninvolved  in
the  fall  who  has  imposed evil and suffering on
creatures  made  capriciously  by  his  fiat.  The
Divine  we  know  is  an  Infinite  Being in whose
infinite manifestation these things have come - it
is  the  Divine  itself  that is here,  behind us,
pervading the manifestation,  supporting the world
with  its oneness;  it is the Divine that is in us
upholding itself the burden of the  fall  and  its
dark  consequence.  If above It stands for ever in
its perfect Light,  Bliss and Peace,  It  is  also
here; its Light, Bliss and Peace are secretly here
supporting all;  in ourselves there is a spirit, a
central   presence  greater  than  the  series  of
surface  personalities  which,  like  the  supreme
Divine  itself,  is not overborne by the fate they
endure.  If we find out this Divine within us,  if
we  know  ourselves as this spirit which is of one
essence and being with the  Divine,  that  is  our
gate  of  deliverance  and  in  it  we  can remain
ourselves  even  in  the  midst  of  this  world's
disharmonies,  luminous,  blissful and free.  That
much  is  the  age-old  testimony   of   spiritual
experience.                                       
    But still what is the purpose  and  origin  of
the  disharmony  - why came this division and ego,
this world of painful evolution? Why must evil and
sorrow  enter  into  the  divine  Good,  Bliss and
Peace?  It  is  hard  to  answer  to   the   human
intelligence   on   its   own   level,   for   the
consciousness  to  which  the   origin   of   this
phenomenon  belongs  and  to which it stands as it
were     automatically     justified     in      a
supra-intellectual knowledge,  is a cosmic and not
an individualised human intelligence;  it sees  in
larger   spaces,   it   has   another  vision  and
cognition, other terms of consciousness than human
reason  and  feeling.  To the human mind one might
answer that while in itself the Infinite might  be
free    from   those   perturbations,   yet   once
manifestation  began  infinite  possibility   also
began  and  among the infinite possibilities which
it is the function of the universal  manifestation
to work out,  the negation, the apparent effective
negation - with all  its  consequences  -  of  the
Power, Light, Peace, Bliss was very evidently one.
If it is asked why even if possible it should have
been  accepted,  the  answer nearest to the Cosmic
Truth which the human  intelligence  can  make  is
that  in the relations or in the transition of the
Divine in the Oneness to the Divine in  the  Many,
this ominous possible became at a certain point an
inevitable.  For once it appears it  acquires  for
the     Soul    descending    into    evolutionary
manifestation  an  irresistible  attraction  which
creates the inevitability - an attraction which in
human terms on  the  terrestrial  level  might  be
interpreted as the call of the unknown, the joy of
danger and difficulty and adventure,  the will  to
attempt   the   impossible,   to   work   out  the
incalculable,  the will to create the new and  the
uncreated  with  one's  own  self  and life as the
material,  the fascination of contradictories  and
their  difficult  harmo-  nisation  - these things
translated   into   another    supra-    physical,
superhuman  consciousness,  higher  and wider than
the mental,  were the temptation that led  to  the
fall.  For  to  the original being of light on the
verge of the descent the one thing unknown was the
depths  of  the  abyss,  the  possibilities of the
Divine in the Ignorance and Inconscience.  On  the
other   side   from  the  Divine  Oneness  a  vast
acquiescence,  compassionate, consenting, helpful,
a supreme knowledge that this thing must be,  that
having appeared it must be worked  out,  that  its
appearance  is  in  a  certain  sense  part  of an
incalculable infinite wisdom,  that if the  plunge
into Night was inevitable the emergence into a new
unprecedented Day was also a certitude,  and  that
only  so  could  a  certain  manifestation  of the
Supreme Truth be effected - by a working out  with
its  phenomenal opposites as the starting-point of
the evolution,  as the condition laid down  for  a
transforming  emergence.  In this acquiescence was
embraced too the will of the great Sacrifice,  the
descent of the Divine itself into the Inconscience
to take up the burden of  the  Ignorance  and  its
consequences,  to  intervene as the Avatar and the
Vibhuti walking between the  double  sign  of  the
Cross  and  the Victory towards the fulfilment and
deliverance.  A  too  imaged  rendering   of   the
inexpressible  Truth?  But  without  images how to
present to the intellect a mystery far beyond  it?
It is only when one has crossed the barrier of the
limited intelligence  and  shared  in  the  cosmic
experience  and  the  knowledge  which sees things
from identity that the supreme realities which lie
behind  these images - images corresponding to the
terrestrial fact - assume their divine  forms  and
are  felt  as  simple,  natural,  implied  in  the
essence of things.  It is by  entering  into  that
greater consciousness alone that one can grasp the
inevitability  of  its   self-creation   and   its
purpose.                                          
    This is  indeed  only   the   Truth   of   the
manifestation   as   it  presents  itself  to  the
consciousness when it stands on  the  border  line
between  Eternity  and the descent into Time where
the relation between the One and the Many  in  the
evolution  is  self-determined,  a  zone where all
that Is to be is implied but not  yet  in  action.
But  the  liberated  consciousness can rise higher
where the problem exists no longer and from  there
see  it  in  the light of a supreme identity where
all   is   predetermined    in    the    automatic
self-existent  truth  of things and self-justified
to  an  absolute  consciousness  and  wisdom   and
absolute  Delight which is behind all creation and
non-creation and the affirmation and negation  are
both  seen  with the eyes of the ineffable Reality
that  delivers  and  reconciles  them.  But   that
knowledge  is  not  expressible to the human mind;
its language of light is too  undecipherable,  the
light   itself  too  bright  for  a  consciousness
accustomed to the  stress  and  obscurity  of  the
cosmic  riddle  and  entangled in it to follow the
clue or to grasp its secret.  In any case,  it  is
only when we rise in the spirit beyond the zone of
the darkness and the struggle that we  enter  into
the  full  significance  of  it  and  there  is  a
deliverance of the soul from its enigma.  To  rise
to  that  height of liberation is the true way out
and the only means of the indubitable knowledge.  
    But the  liberation and transcendence need not
necessarily  impose  a  disappearance,   a   sheer
dissolving  out  from  the  manifestation;  it can
prepare a liberation into action  of  the  highest
Knowledge  and  an  intensity  of  Power  that can
transform the world and  fulfil  the  evolutionary
urge.  It  is  an  ascent  from  which there is no
longer a  fall  but  a  winged  or  self-sustained
descent of light, force and Ananda.               
    It is what is inherent in force of being  that
manifests as becoming;  but what the manifestation
shall be,  its terms, its balance of energies, its
arrangement   of   principles   depends   on   the
consciousness which acts in the creative force, on
the  power  of  consciousness which Being delivers
from itself for manifestation. It is in the nature
of  Being  to be able to grade and vary its powers
of consciousness and determine  according  to  the
grade  and  variation  its world or its degree and
scope of self- revelation. The manifested creation
is  limited  by  the power to which it belongs and
sees and lives according to it and  can  only  see
more,  live  more powerfully,  change its world by
opening or moving  towards  or  making  descend  a
greater  power of consciousness that was above it.
This is what is  happening  in  the  evolution  of
consciousness  in our world,  a world of inanimate
matter  producing  under  the   stress   of   this
necessity  a power of life,  a power of mind which
bring into it new  forms  of  creation  and  still
labouring to produce, to make descend into it some
supramental power.  It is further an operation  of
creative  force  which  moves between two poles of
consciousness.  On one  side  there  is  a  secret
consciousness  within  and above which contains in
it all potentialities - there eternally  manifest,
here  awaiting delivery - of light,  peace,  power
and bliss.  On the other side  there  is  another,
outward on the surface and below, that starts from
the apparent opposite of unconsciousness, inertia,
blind  stress,  possibility of suffering and grows
by receiving into itself higher and higher  powers
which  make  it always re-create its manifestation
in larger terms,  each new creation of  this  kind
bringing  out something of the inner potentiality,
making it more and more possible to bring down the
Perfection  that  waits  above.  As  long  as  the
outward personality we call ourselves  is  centred
in  the lower powers of consciousness,  the riddle
of its own existence,  its purpose,  its necessity
is to it an insoluble enigma;  if something of the
truth is at all conveyed to  this  outward  mental
man,  he  but  imperfectly  grasps  it and perhaps
misinterprets and misuses arid  mislives  It.  His
true  staff  of  walking is made more of a fire of
faith than any ascertained and  indubitable  light
of  kr**wledge.  It  is  only  by  rising toward a
higher consciousness beyond the  mental  line  and
therefore  superconscient  now  to him that he can
emerge from his inability and his  ignorance.  His
full  liberation  and enlightenment will come when
he crosses the  line  into  the  light  of  a  new
superconscient     existence.    That    is    the
transcendence which was the object  of  aspiration
of the mystics and the spiritual seekers.         
    But in itself this would change nothing in the
creation  here,  the  evasion  of a liberated soul
from the world makes to that world no  difference.
But  this  crossing of the line if turned not only
to an ascending but to a descending purpose  would
mean  the  transformation of the line from what it
now is,  a lid,  a barrier, into a passage for the
higher  powers  of  consciousness of the Being now
above it. It would mean a new creation on earth, a
bringing  in  of  the  ultimate powers which would
reverse the conditions here,  in as much  as  that
would  produce  a  creation  raised  into the full
flood of spiritual and supramental light in  place
of one emerging into a half-light of mind out of a
darkness of material inconscience.  It is only  in
such  a full flood of the realised spirit that the
embodied being could know,  in the  sense  of  all
that was involved in it, the meaning and temporary
necessity of his descent into the darkness and its
conditions and at the same time dissolve them by a
luminous transmutation into a  manifestation  here
of  the  revealed  and no longer of the veiled and
disguised or apparently deformed Divine.          

yasmin vijnate sarvam idam vijnatam
Words of Sri Aurobindo
    ...[That] which  is  permanent  in  the  Hindu
religion,  must  form the basis on which the world
will increasingly take its stand in  dealing  with
spiritual    experience   and   religious   truth.
Hinduism,  in my sense of the word,  is not modern
Brahmanism.   Modern   Brahmanism  developed  into
existence at a definite period in history.  It  is
now  developing  out of existence;  its mission is
done,  its capacities exhausted,  the Truth which,
like   other  religions,  it  defended,  honoured,
preserved,  cherished,  misused and disfigured, is
about  to  take  to  itself new forms and dispense
with all other screens or defender  than  its  own
immortal     beauty,     grandeur,    truth    and
effectiveness. It is this unchanging undying Truth
which  has  to  be  discovered  and  placed in its
native light before humanity. tad etat satyam.    
    There are  many  defenders  and discoverers of
truth now active  among  us.  They  are  all  busy
defending,   modifying,   attacking,   sapping  or
bolstering current Hinduism.  I am  not  eager  to
disparage  but  neither do I find myself satisfied
with any of them.  If I were,  there would  be  no
need for any speculation of my own.  There are the
orthodox who are busy recovering and applying  old
texts or any interpretations, new or old, of these
texts,  which will support the existing  order,  -
and   ignoring  all  that  go  against  it.  Their
learning is praise-worthy and useful; it brings to
notice many great and helpful things which were in
danger of being misprized,  lost or flung away  as
worthless; but they do not seem to me to go to the
heart of the matter.  There are the heterodox  who
are  busy  giving new interpretations to old texts
and institutions in order to get rid of  all  such
features  as  the  modern  world  finds it hard to
assimilate.  Their brain-work can  hardly  be  too
highly  praised;  it  is bringing to light or to a
half   light   many   luminous    realities    and
possibilities   which,   if  they  cannot  all  be
accepted,  yet invigorate and sharpen the habit of
original  thinking  and  help to remove that blind
adherence to traditions which is truth's  greatest
obstacle. Still they too do not seem to me to have
the right grasp and discernment.  Then  there  are
the  ascetics  mystical  or rationalistic who call
men to disgust with the world  and  point  to  the
temple,  the  monastery  or the mountaintop as the
best,  if not the only place for finding God,  and
most of whom,  in order to honour the Maker slight
and  denounce  His  works.  Their   position   and
temperament  is  so  lofty  and  noble  and  their
solvent  force  on  the  gross  impurities  of   a
materialised  humanity has been so invaluable that
it is  with  some  reluctance  one  finds  oneself
obliged  to  put them on one side and pass onward.
But it seems to me that we must pass onward if  we
would know and possess God in His entirety and not
merely in a side or aspect.  There is a  story  in
the  Jewish Scriptures which relates that when God
wished to show himself to Moses,  he  could  only,
owing to the spiritual imperfections of the Jewish
prophet,  reveal safely to him His  hinder  parts.
Moses  would have died if he had seen the front of
God;  he had not the dharanam,  the soul-power  to
support  that  tremendous  vision.  The story well
illuminates the character of materialism generally
and   to  its  aggressive  modern  form,  European
thought & civilisation,  it applies with  a  quite
overwhelming appositeness. But it seems to me that
the average Vedantist, too, has only seen, for his
part, the crown of the Lord's head and the average
bhakta only the Kaustubh-stone over His  heart  or
the  Srivatsa  mark  upon  it.  On the other hand,
there are those rationalists who are by  no  means
ascetical  in their views or temperament and their
name  is  legion;  they  insist  on  our   putting
religion  and  God  aside  or keeping Him only for
ornamental uses in spare moments, leave that, they
say,  &  devote  yourselves  to practical work for
mankind. That rationalism is necessary too if only
to  balance  the  error  of the ascetics who would
make of God's world a mistake and of its Maker  an
Almighty  blunderer or an inscrutable eccentric or
an indefinable Something inhabiting a chaos  or  a
mirage.  Nevertheless,  from  materialism least of
all,  however philanthropic or patriotic,  can our
future salvation be expected.  Finally,  there are
the  mystics  who  are   not   ascetics,   -   the
Theosophists. From one point of view I cannot find
praise warm enough to do justice to  the  work  of
Theosophy; from another I cannot find condemnation
strong enough to denounce it. It has forced on the
notice  of  an  unwilling  world  truths  to which
orthodoxy is blind  and  of  which  heterodoxy  is
afraid  or  incredulous.  It  has shown a colossal
courage in facing ridicule, trampling on prejudice
and  slander,  persisting  in  faith  in  spite of
disillusionment,  scandal and a continual shifting
of knowledge.  They have kept the flag of a past &
future    science    flying    against    enormous
difficulties. On the other hand by bringing to the
investigation of that science - not its discovery,
for  to  the Hindu Yogin it is known already - the
traditional European methods,  the methods of  the
market-place and the forum,  it has brought on the
truths themselves much doubt and discredit, and by
importing into them the forms, jugglery and jargon
of  European  mystics,  their  romanticism,  their
unbridled imagination, their galloping impatience,
their  haste,   bragging   and   loudness,   their
susceptibility   to  dupery,  trickery,  obstinate
error and greedy selfdeception,  Theosophists have
strenghtened  doubt  and discredit and driven many
an  earnest  seeker  to  bewilderment,  to   angry
suspicion  or  to final renunciation of the search
for truth.  They have scattered the  path  of  the
conscientious investigators, the severe scientists
of Yoga who must appear in the  future,  with  the
thorns   and  sharp  flints  of  a  well-justified
incredulity and suspicion. I admit the truths that
Theosophy seeks to unveil; but I do not think they
can be reached if we fall into bondage even to the
most  inspiring  table  talk of Mahatmas or to the
confused anathemas and vaticinations  buried  from
their  platform  tripods  by modern Pythonesses of
the  type  of  Mrs.  Annie  Besant,  that   great,
capacious  but  bewildered and darkened intellect,
now stumbling with a loud and confident  blindness
through  those worlds of twilight and glamour,  of
distorted inspirations,  perverted  communications
and  misunderstood  or half-understood perceptions
which are so painfully familiar to the student and
seeker.                                           
    If these  things do not satisfy me,  what then
do I seek?  I seek a light that shall be new,  yet
old,  the  oldest indeed of all lights.  I seek an
authority   that   accepting,   illuminating   and
reconciling all human truth,  shall yet reject and
get rid of by explaining it all mere human  error.
I  seek  a text and Shastra that is not subject to
interpolation,  modification and replacement, that
moth and white ant cannot destroy,  that the earth
cannot  bury  nor  Time  mutilate.   I   seek   an
asceticism   that   shall   give   me  purity  and
deliverance from self and from  ignorance  without
stultifying   God  and  His  universe.  I  seek  a
scepticism  that  shall  question  everything  but
shall  have  the patience to deny nothing that may
possibly  be  true.  I  seek  a  rationalism   not
proceeding  on  the untenable supposition that all
the  centuries  of  man's   history   except   the
nineteenth    were    centuries   of   folly   and
superstition,  but  bent  on   discovering   truth
instead  of  limiting  inquiry by a new dogmatism,
obscurantism  and  furious  intolerance  which  it
chooses to call common sense and enlightenment;  I
seek a materialism that shall recognise matter and
use   it  without  being  its  slave.  I  seek  an
occultism that shall bring out all  its  processes
and proofs into the light of day, without mystery,
without jugglery,  without the old stupid call  to
humanity,  "Be blind, 0 man, and see!" In short, I
seek not science, not religion, not Theosophy, but
Veda - the truth about Brahman, not only about His
essentiality,  but about His manifestation,  not a
lamp  on the way to the forest,  but a light and a
guide to joy and action in the  world,  the  truth
which  is beyond opinion,  the knowledge which all
thought strives  after  -  yasmin  vijnate  sarvam
vijnatam. I believe that Veda to be the foundation
of the Sanatan Dharma;  I believe  it  to  be  the
concealed  divinity within Hinduism,  - but a veil
has to be drawn aside, a curtain has to be lifted.
I  believe  it to be knowable and discoverable.  I
believe the future  of  India  and  the  world  to
depend  on  its  discovery and on its application,
not to the renunciation of life,  but to  life  in
the world and among men.                          
    In these articles I shall not try to  announce
truth, but merely to inquire what are those things
in Hinduism by following which we  may  arrive  at
the  truth.  I  shall  try  to indicate some of my
reasons - as far as within these limits it can  be
done - for my faith in my guides and the manner in
which I  think  they  should  be  followed.  I  am
impelled  to  this  labour  by  the  necessity  of
turning the  mind  of  young  India  to  our  true
riches, our real source of power, purification and
hope for the future and of safeguarding it in  the
course  of  its  search both from false lights and
from  the   raucous   challenges   and   confident
discouragements  cast  at  us  by the frail modern
spirit of denial.  I write,  not for the orthodox,
nor for those who have discovered a new orthodoxy,
Samaj or Panth,  nor for the unbeliever;  I  write
for  those  who  acknowledge  reason  but  do  not
identify reason with Western materialism;  who are
sceptics but not unbelievers;  who,  admitting the
claims of modern thought,  still believe in India,
her mission and her gospel,  her immortal life and
her eternal rebirth.                              

SECTION III: EXALTING STORIES
Patience and Perseverance
Words of the Mother
The people of the Punjab have a  song  which  goes
like this:                                        
    The bulbul does not always sing in the garden,
    And the garden is not always in bloom;        
    Happiness does not always reign,              
    And friends are not always together.          
    The conclusion to be drawn from this  song  is
that we cannot expect to be always happy, and that
to know how to be  patient  is  most  useful.  For
there  are few days in our lives which do not give
us the opportunity to learn greater patience.     
    You want  to  see  a  very busy man to ask him
something.  You go  to  his  house.  Already  many
visitors are there and he keeps you waiting a very
long  time  before  seeing  you.  You  stay  there
quietly,   perhaps  for  several  hours.  You  are
patient.                                          
    Another home,  the  person  you wish to see is
not at tame when you arrive.  You return again the
next  day,  but  his door is still closed.  You go
back a third time,  but he is sick and cannot  see
you. You let a few days go by and then return once
more. And if something new again prevents you from
meeting him, nevertheless you are not discouraged,
but renew the attempt until at last you  see  him.
This kind of patience is called perseverance.     
    Perseverance is an active patience, a patience
that marches on.                                  
*
    The famous Genoese sailor  Columbus  set  sail
from Spain to cross the unknown seas of the West. 
    For days  and  weeks  on end,  in spite of the
murmurs of his companions,  he  persisted  in  his
will  to reach a new land;  in spite of delays and
difficulties,  he would not give up until  he  had
reached   the  first  American  islands.  Thus  he
discovered the New World.                         
    What did  he  ask of his companions?  He asked
them only to have patience, for they had simply to
rely  on  him  and quietly allow him to lead them.
But what did he himself need to reach his  goal  ?
He needed the sustained energy and the unremitting
will that we call perseverance.                   
    The celebrated potter, Bernard Palissy, wanted
to recover the lost secret of beautiful old glazed
china enamelled in rich colours.                  
    For months  and  years  on end,  he untiringly
pursued his experiments.  His attempts to find the
glaze  remained  fruitless  for  a  long time.  He
devoted all he had to his search; and for days and
nights  together  he  watched over the kiln he had
built,  endlessly trying  out  new  processes  for
preparing and firing his pottery. And not only did
no one give him any help or encouragement, but his
friends  and  his  neighbours called him a madman,
and even his wife reproached him for what  he  was
doing.                                            
    Several times   he   had   to   suspend    his
experiments for lack of resources,  but as soon as
he could, he would take them up again with renewed
courage.  Finally one day he did not even have the
wood he needed to stoke his kiln; so, disregarding
the  cries and threats of his household,  he threw
his own furniture,  to the very last  stick,  into
the fire. And when everything was burnt, he opened
the kiln and found it full of the brightly  glazed
pottery  which  made  him  famous and which he had
sacrificed so many years to discover.             
    What was it that his wife and  friends  lacked
that  they  could not wait for his hour of success
to come, without harassing him and making his task
more difficult?  Simply patience. And what was the
only thing he himself never lacked, the only thing
that never failed him and which enabled him in the
end to triumph over all difficulty and  scorn?  It
was  precisely perseverance,  that is to say,  the
mightiest force of all.                           
    For nothing in the world can  prevail  against
perseverance.  And  even  the  greatest things are
always  an  accumulation  of  small  and  untiring
efforts.                                          
    Enormous boulders    have    been   completely
destroyed,  worn by raindrops  falling  one  after
another on the same spot.                         
    A grain of sand is nothing very powerful,  but
when many come together,  they  form  a  dune  and
check the ocean.                                  
    And when you learn about natural history,  you
will hear how mountains have been formed under the
sea  by little animalcules piled one upon another,
who  by  their  persistent   efforts   have   made
magnificent  islands  and  archipelagos rise above
the waves.                                        
    Don't you  think  that  your  small,  repeated
efforts could also achieve great things?          
*
    The famous  sage  Shankara  whose name brought
glory to the land of Malabar,  and who lived about
1200  years  ago,  had  resolved from childhood to
become a Sannyasi.                                
    For a  long  time  his  mother,  although  she
appreciated the nobility  of  his  wish,  did  not
allow him to devote himself to that way of life.  
    One day  mother  and  child went to bathe in a
river.  Shankara  dived  in  and  felt  his   foot
suddenly seized by a crocodile. Death seemed close
at hand.  But even at  that  dreadful  moment  the
brave  child thought only of his great project and
cried out to his mother,  "I am lost!  A crocodile
is  dragging  me  down.  But let me at least die a
Sannyasi!"                                        
    "Yes, yes,  my  son,"  his  mother  sobbed  in
despair.  Shankara felt such joy that he found the
strength  to  free  his  foot  and  throw  himself
ashore.                                           
    From that moment he grew  in  learning  as  in
years. He became a guru,  and remained true to his
great work of teaching philosophy to the very  end
of his wonderful life.                            
*
    All who love India know the beautiful poem  of
the Mahabharata.                                  
    It was  written  in  Sanskrit many hundreds of
years ago.  Until recent times,  no European could
read  it  unless  he  knew Sanskrit,  and that was
rare.  A translation  into  one  of  the  European
languages was needed.                             
    Babu Pratap  Chandra  Rai  decided  to  devote
himself to this work.  In his own land he was able
to  find a learned friend,  Kishori Mohan Ganguly,
who  could  translate  the  Sanskrit   book   into
English,  and its hundred parts were published one
by one.                                          
    For twelve years Pratap Chandra  Rai  went  on
with  the task he had set himself.  He devoted all
his resources to the publication of the book.  And
when  he  had  nothing  left he travelled all over
India to ask help from all  who  were  willing  to
give.  He received help from princes and peasants,
from scholars and simple  folk,  from  friends  in
Europe and America.                               
    In the course of one of his journeys he caught
the pernicious fever from which  he  died.  During
his  sickness all his thoughts were turned towards
the completion of  his  work.  And  even  when  it
became  painful  for him to speak,  he would still
say to his wife:                                  
    "The book must be finished.  Don't spend money
on  my  funeral  rites  if  it  is  needed for the
printing.  Live as simply as you can so as to save
money for the Mahabharata."                       
    He died  full  of love for India and her great
poem.                                             
    His widow,  Sundari   Bala   Rai,   faithfully
carried  out  his  great wish.  One year later the
translator completed  his  work,  and  the  eleven
volumes  of  the Mahabharata were presented to the
European public who could now know and admire  the
eighteen  Parvas  of  the splendid epic poem.  And
reading it,  they would learn to respect the great
skill and wisdom of the profound thinkers who were
the poets of ancient India.                       
    Such are the fruits borne by  the  efforts  of
all those who, like Pratap Chandra Rai and so many
other useful men, know how to persevere.          
    And you, brave children, will you not join the
great  army  of  men  and  women who never tire of
doing good and never abandon their task until they
have completed it?                                
    In this wide world,  there is no lack of noble
work to be accomplished,  nor is there any lack of
good people to undertake  it;  but  what  is  very
often  lacking is the perseverance which alone can
carry it through to the end.                      

SECTION IV: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Some Explanations
Words of Sri Aurobindo
Q: Are  not  religious  practices like doing japa,
reading holy scriptures, doing puja, etc, signs of
aspiration  for  the  Divine life?  Are they not a
help for reaching the highest Truth?              
A: It  depends  on  the  spirit  in which they are
done. A man can do all these things and yet remain
an unspiritual man or even an Asura.              
Q: Is  there  any  spiritual  value  in  going for
pilgrimage to holy  places  and  worshipping  many
gods and goddesses?  Does it help in realising the
Divine Truth?                                     
A: It has nothing to do with the Truth;  it  is  a
religious exercise for the ordinary consciousness.
Q: What  is  the  spiritual utility of 'samkirtan'
which is common amongst Vaishnavs?                
A: It has a power of raising devotion,  especially
in the vital parts.                               
Q: I have read in some religious books that if one
member of a family has  a  spiritual  realisation,
all  the other members get Mukti by his influence.
How far is this true?                             
A: It is not true.  Each has his own  destiny  and
his  entering into a particular family in one life
is only an incident.                              
Q: ls  there  any  possibility  of  fully  turning
towards God for people who remain wholly engrossed
in worldly life and remember God only in times  of
difficulty and calamity?                          
A: There  is  a  future  possibility for everyone,
even for the atheist or the one who  never  thinks
of God.                                           
Q: lf  even the atheist or one who never thinks of
God,  has a future possibility of fully turning to
God,  then  why  should anyone enter the spiritual
life and face its difficulties?                   
A: The future possibility may only  realise  after
ten  thousand years and even then it can only come
by practising Yoga.                               
Q: Ordinary people call  for  the  action  of  the
Divine  Grace  in times of calamity but afterwards
forget the Divine.  Does the Grace act in the life
of people only in this way ?                      
A: It  is only with the ordinary people that it is
like that,  not with  those  who  seek  after  the
Divine. The special Grace of the Divine is for the
seekers of the Divine - for the  others  it  is  a
Cosmic Will acting through their Karma.           
Q: ls there any difference between the Divine Will
and the Divine Grace? Are they not the same?      
A: The Divine Will works on all things  -  it  may
work out anything whatever. The Divine Grace comes
in to help and save.                              

The whole  of  our life should be a prayer offered
to the Divine.                                    
                                      - The Mother 

Matter shall reveal the Spirit's face.
                                   - Sri Aurobindo

1 These are three of the four classes  of  devotees
which are recognised by the Gita, arta,   arta,
 jijnasu,  the distressed,  the seeker of  personal 
objects and the seeker of God-knowledge.
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