||Temple Tree; Chameli
There is not one psychological perfection but
five, like the five petals of this flower. We have
said they are: sincerity, faith, devotion,
aspiration and surrender. But as a matter of fact
every time I give this flower it is not always the
same psychological perfection, it is something
very fluid, depending on the circumstances and the
need of people.
The white Champak flower, Plumeria, is named
by the Mother 'Psychological Perfection'. It has
five petals. In this beautiful talk the Mother
reveals the meaning of each petal and the quality
it signifies for the aspiring sadhak and, with a
unique psychological insight, throws a new light
on the true meaning of each quality. The talk
begins with the Mother showing the Champak flower
and counting its petals.
(Counting the petals) One, two, three, four,
five psychological perfections. What are the five
So, if someone knows it, he can tell us, we'll
Aspiration, devotion, sincerity and faith.
That makes only four, so far. And surrender.
In any case, what is always there, in all
combinations and to whomever I give it, the first
among them all is sincerity. For if there is no
sincerity, one cannot advance even by half a step.
So that is the first, and it is always there.
But it is possible to translate it by another
word, if you prefer it, which would be
"transparency". I shall explain this word: Someone
is in front of me and I am looking at him; I look
into his eyes. And if this person is sincere or
"transparent", through his eyes I go down and I
see his soul - clearly. But - this is precisely
the experience - when I look at somebody and see a
little cloud, then I continue, I see a screen, and
then sometimes it is a wall, and afterwards it is
something quite black; and all this must be
crossed, and holes bored in order to go through:
and even then I am not sure if at the last minute
I may not find myself before a door of bronze so
thick that I shall never get through and see his
soul; so, of such a person I can immediately say
that he is not sincere. But I can also say,
figuratively, that he is not transparent. That is
the first thing.
There is a second, which is obviously, as
indispensable if you want to go forward; it is to
have faith. Or another word, which seems more
limited but is for me more important, because (it
is a question of experience) if your faith is not
made of a complete trust in the Divine, well, you
may very easily remain under the impression that
you have faith and yet be losing all trust in the
divine Power or divine Goodness, or the Trust the
Divine has in you. These are the three
Those who have what they call an unshakable
faith in the Divine, and say, "It is the Divine
who is doing everything, who can do everything;
all that happens in me, in others, everywhere, is
the work of the Divine and the Divine alone", if
they follow this with some kind of logic, after
some time they will blame the Divine for all the
most terrible wrongs which take place in the world
and make of Him a real demon, cruel and frightful
- if they have no trust.
Or again, they do have faith, but tell
themselves, "Well, I have faith in the Divine, but
this world, I see quite well what it's like! First
of all, I suffer so much, don't I? I am very
unhappy, far more unhappy than all my neighbours"
- for one is always far more unhappy than all
one's neighbours - "I am very unhappy and, truly,
life is cruel to me.
But then the Divine is divine. He is
AllGoodness, All-Generosity, All-Harmony, so how
is it that I am so unhappy? He must be powerless;
otherwise being so good how could He let me suffer
That is the second stumbling-block.
And the third: there are people who have what
may be called a warped and excessive modesty or
humility and who tell themselves, "Surely the
Divine has thrown me out. I am good for nothing.
He can do nothing with me, the only thing for me
is to give up the game, for He finds me unworthy
So, unless one adds to faith a total and
complete trust in the Divine Grace, there will be
difficulties. So both are necessary....
Now, we have put "devotion" in this series.
Yes, devotion is all very well, but unless it is
accompanied by many other things it too may make
many mistakes. It may meet with great difficulties
You have devotion, and you keep your ego. And
then your ego makes you do all sorts of things out
of devotion, things which are terribly egoistic.
That is to say, you think only of yourself, not of
others, nor of the world, nor of the work, nor of
what ought to be done - you think only of your
devotion. And you become tremendously egoistic.
And so, when you find out that the Divine, for
some reason, does not answer to your devotion with
the enthusiasm you expected of Him, you despair
and fall back into the same three difficulties I
was just speaking about: either the Divine is
cruel - we have read that, there are many such
stories, of enthusiastic devotees who abuse the
Divine because He is no longer as gentle and near
to them as before. He has withdrawn, "Why hast
Thou deserted me? Thou hast abandoned me, 0
monster!... They don't dare to say this, but think
it, or else they say, "Oh! I must have made such a
serious mistake that I am thrown out", and they
fall into despair.
But there is another movement which should
constantly accompany devotion.... That kind of
sense of gratitude that the Divine exists; that
feeling of a marvelling thankfulness which truly
fills you with a sublime joy at the fact that the
Divine exists, that there is something in the
universe which is the Divine, that it is not just
the monstrosity we see, that there is the Divine,
the Divine exists. And each time that the least
thing puts you either directly or indirectly in
contact with this sublime Reality of divine
existence, the heart is filled with so intense, so
marvellous a joy, such a gratitude as of all
things has the most delightful taste.
There is nothing which gives you a joy equal
to that of gratitude. One hears a bird sing, sees
a lovely flower, looks at a little child, observes
an act of generosity, reads a beautiful sentence,
looks at the setting sun, no matter what, suddenly
this comes upon you, this kind of emotion - indeed
so deep, so intense - that the world manifests the
Divine, that there is something behind the world
which is the Divine.
So I find that devotion without gratitude is
quite incomplete, gratitude must come with
I remember that once we spoke of courage as
one of the perfections; I remember having written
it down once in a list. But this courage means
having a taste for the supreme adventure. And this
taste for supreme adventure is aspiration - an
aspiration which takes hold of you completely and
flings you, without calculation and without
reserve and without a possibility of withdrawal,
into the great adventure of the divine discovery,
the great adventure of the divine meeting, the yet
greater adventure of the divine Realisation; you
throw yourself into the adventure without looking
back and without asking for a single minute,
"What's going to happen?" For if you ask what is
going to happen, you never start, you always
remain stuck there, rooted to the spot, afraid to
lose something, to lose your balance.
That's why I speak of courage - but really it
is aspiration. They go together. A real aspiration
is something full of courage.
And now, surrender. In English the word is
"surrender", there is no French word which gives
exactly that sense. But Sri Aurobindo has said - I
think we have read this - that surrender is the
first and absolute condition for doing the yoga.
So, if we follow what he has said, this is not
just one of the necessary qualities: it is the
first attitude indispensable for beginning the
yoga. If one has not decided to make a total
surrender, one cannot begin.
But for this surrender to be total, all these
qualities are necessary. And I add one more - for
so far we have only four - I add endurance. For,
if you are not able to face difficulties without
getting discouraged and without giving up, because
it is too difficult; and if you are incapable...
well, of receiving blows and yet continuing, of
"pocketing" them, as they say - when you receive
blows as a result of your defects, of putting them
in your pocket and continuing to go forward
without flagging - you don't go very far; at the
first turning where you lose sight of your little
habitual life, you fall into despair and give up
The most... how shall I put it? the most
material form of this is perseverance. Unless you
are resolved to begin the same thing over again a
thousand times if need be... You know, people come
to me in despair, "But I thought it was done and
now I must begin again!" And if they are told,
"But that's nothing, you will probably have to
begin again a hundred times, two hundred times, a
thousand times; you take one step forward and
think you are secure, but there will always be
something to bring back the same difficulty a
little farther on.
You think you have solved the problem, you
must solve it yet once again; it will turn up
again looking just a little different, but it will
be the same problem", and if you are not
determined that: "Even if it comes back a million
times, I shall do it a million times, but I shall
go through with it", well, you won't be able to do
the yoga. This is absolutely indispensable.
People have a beautiful experience and say,
"Ah, now this is it!..." And then it settles down,
diminishes, gets veiled, and suddenly something
quite unexpected, absolutely commonplace and
apparently completely uninteresting comes before
you and blocks your way. And then you say, "Ah!
what's the good of having made this progress if
it's going to start all over again? Why should I
do it? I made an effort, I succeeded, achieved
something, and now it's as if I had done nothing!
It's indeed hopeless." For you have no endurance.
If one has endurance, one says, "It's all
right. Good. I shall begin again as often as
necessary; a thousand times, ten thousand times, a
hundred thousand times if necessary, I shall begin
again - but I shall go to the end and nothing will
have the power to stop me on the way."
This is most necessary. Most necessary.
So here's my proposal; we put surrender first,
at the top of the list, that is, we accept what
Sri Aurobindo has said - that to do the integral
yoga one must first resolve to surrender entirely
to the Divine, there is no other way, this is the
way. But after that one must have the five
psychological virtues, five psychological
perfections,and we say that these perfections are:
One form of endurance is faithfulness,
faithfulness to one's resolution - being faithful.
One has taken a resolution, one is faithful to
one's resolution. This is endurance.
There you are.
If one persists, there comes a time when one is
Victory is to the persistent.
|1 -Photo from book
"Flowers - their spiritual significance"