I understand it mentally, but I do not yet realise it. I have always to make an effort, quite a strenuous one, for it takes up even my physical brain, in which I feel it. When I lift this pressure, the waves resume their movement. I am also very easily disturbed by outside noises. Even when they don't start any thought in me, they draw my attention sharply which gets riveted to them.
You will feel them occurring somewhere in your widened conscious‑ ness, but without their disturbing you. Indeed everything will seem to you as though outside you. That's my experience. When I began yoga, I came to an impasse, unable to go any further. My brother then directed me to a yogi( Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, whom Sri Aurobindo met towards the end of 1907.) who had certain powers. I remained with him ten days. He told me to sit beside him and to drive away with deliberation any thought which would appear. I did it and after three days my mind was calm and peaceful, unchangeable. Thoughts floated before me, I saw them and was aware of them, but was no longer their toy. When I left, as I was the political leader I was asked to make a speech somewhere. I refused, saying I hadn't a single thought in my head. But the yogi told me to go, for the thoughts would come of themselves. And it was true. So too I had to write in the papers. And I went back home to Bengal; at several places I had to speak. And always the mental work was done of itself without my being its plaything, in detachment and peace.
This calm is at first mental; there are two parts in the mind, one which reflects the activity of Prakriti, the other which shares the calm of Purusha.
I understand quite clearly. The only result reached so far is more calmness and a deeper peace, less easily disturbed by the little things of life, more intuitiveness and a greater facility in uniting myself with what is around me.
This is already something important. Continue, and develop also this feeling of union with nature which you have.
Monday, March 8, 1926
This week there has not been much progress. My mind is sometimes tamasic, sometimes rajasic, at times outside noises are the cause of difficulties; they resound with as much greater a force as my mind is more quiet and empty.
What are your inner movements?
Always the following two movements: either, having quietened the mind, to remain attentive to the influence from above; or, to separate myself from the calmed mental being and try to realise my existence above the mind, as in the swift experience glimpsed by me once.
If you succeed in shutting out all thought, in reaching absolute passiveness, three things in fact can happen. Either a profound calm descends and takes hold of one; or the consciousness separates from the outer world and attains another level; or, lastly, the invasion of outside impressions becomes all-powerful. And if the first two are not realised, the third in that case supervenes. Hence the importance of making all quiet whilst remaining attentive to the higher influence, open towards the heights, so to say.
It is difficult for me to keep this attitude and this aspiration when I silence my thought — for it is thought which helps me to rouse them.
Why? Because you think it is difficult and because you are not used to it. But it is important. Practise this. If your consciousness leaves the physical level, this can in itself shut out all sensation. But at any rate you will have to develop this. Might as well do it now.
I suppose these difficulties are common. Like the one of the mind's trying by every means to keep its hold upon me. And it tosses me violently hither and thither.
It would seem easier to overcome the causes of agitation by retiring from the world. It is this feeling which, undoubtedly, has given rise to the sannyasin's aversion for the world. But I understand that there is another way, that of mental control.
Yes — besides, the shrunken world in which the sannyasin moves becomes very often a theatre of the same difficulties and the same struggles — and it is the smallest things which take on an importance. It is altogether futile to cut oneself off like this. Many have felt it. An old yogi at Benares told me that if he could start all over again, he would change his whole method in this way; but he was too old. And those who have thus left the world for a long time can scarcely come back to it. They have lost the faculty, and there is something in them which would not be able to bear it. If we, here, retire a little from human contact, it is not for the same reason, but mainly in order to avoid the shock and pressure of the thoughts of others directed towards us.
Is this experience which I am preparing in myself that which has been described as the second birth?
Yes — but in this yoga one must pass through many new births !
Wednesday, March 10, 1926
In meditation the entire mind is quiet. The faculty of forming images disappears and also that of reasoning, of putting out ideas. And I remain immobile, incapable of any inner movement. There is no change in the consciousness, only in the instruments of this consciousness. What should I do in meditation? Should this new state be brought into the ordinary life?
In the first analysis, the mind is divided into two parts : one, whose movements are aroused by Nature ; the other which shares the nature of the Purusha and remains immobile. It is now necessary to extend the power of this immobile part to remain the witness of the changes of the other. Thought will seem to occur in front of it, and it will become aware that it is universal Nature which raises the play of thoughts. One must go towards this universalisation. Thoughts will come from outside and you will see them taking shape in you. You will also experience that you have power over them: you will be able to make a choice, refuse a movement, etc. This is the beginning of mastery. The part of the immobile mind will also have to be seen as the reflection of a vaster, more universal Purusha above you. From both sides you must free yourself from the self. You must relax the pressure you have put on the mind to succeed in mastering thought and being free from it. Insist on the witness attitude. When a thought comes, examine it, see from where it comes, follow it.
The two parts which you are thus separating will have to be later united once again.
I have the feeling that there is only one part, with two possible states, one active, the other passive and inactive.
At first it is necessary to emphasise the division before making the synthesis. You will experience that it is not you who are thinking, but Prakriti; this is the first liberation. The faculty of thought has not been taken away from you; but thought seems to you to be outside yourself.
There is no change in the consciousness and this state has nothing spiritual about it.
True. But it is a preparation of the instruments, and as such it is very important.
Saturday, March 13, 1926
Master, there is something I don't understand very well. Suppose I am meditating. At first there is quite a large action of the semi-automatic mind, which continues the original movement. Little by little this action becomes calm and stops. I find myself then face to face with the quiet mind : but there is another activity of the mind, a kind of inner language which seems to be aroused by myself. It is with this thought that I tell myself, for instance : "Now I am observing my thoughts ... whence does this one come ? ... now all is calm ... I must also stop talking to myself thus, etc. etc." It is possible to stop this activity also, absolutely. Where does it come from ? Its laws are those of the mind, but it seems to reflect some purpose of the Purusha, or to serve him as an instrument of knowledge and action. If it were aroused by Prakriti, Prakriti would be struggling against herself. On the other hand, how can Purusha who is calm, immutable, bring about a change ? If really there is no change in him, this would be impossible, wouldn't it ?
At first it so happens that Prakriti does struggle against herself — certain parts against certain others. But Purusha is not totally inactive. This inactivity, reduced to the single role of passive witness, is that of Sankhya. * Purusha is Sakshi.** But even then he can either give or refuse his consent, he is the giver of sanction : anumanta. And Prakriti does not work only for herself, she works for Purusha also — she executes. But Purusha is more than that. It is not he who executes, his activity is not effective, but he is also the Knower and Lord (Ishwara). And what he decides, Prakriti executes. In most people Purusha is hidden behind all mental action. There is certainly a consent to the Play of Prakriti. But Purusha is not free then: Prakriti casts her action on Purusha. Purusha must first recover his attitude of witness. Then he experiences that he has a certain power over the activities of Prakriti.
*System of Philosophy and spiritual practice founded on a detailed analysis of nature and consciousness.
Is this consent of the Purusha conscious? Or is it something much more profound?
It is not in the mental ego, that is why it seems unconscious. But when Purusha is free it becomes conscious.
This part which I call myself, which looks at the calmed mind, not sharing in its activities, is this Manomaya Purusha ?*
*The mental Purusha or mental self
Is the consent of the Purusha individual, is it not the universal which determines it?
There is the universal Purusha as there is the individual Purusha, and there is that which transcends them both. This individual Purusha is distinct, though not separate — he does not feel himself separate — from the whole. And when he is fully conscious, he has direct access to the transcendent. Without this individual Purusha, no organised action would be possible. For instance, there are many sadhaks who try to wipe out this action. The stage of Paramhamsa — in which one is absolutely unconscious of one's activities, be it as a child or one inert, carried away as a leaf in the wind — is a phase preparatory to the total cessation. When the given impulsion ceases, there is a final rejection, at the time of the dissolution of the body. But we, we want not cessation, but the replacing of limited action circumscribed by a limited consciousness, by the true action, governed by the knowledge of the truth. Thought is a means of knowledge, but it is the lowest. When Purusha is freed from Prakriti, he has all knowledge in him, direct. He knows directly by a sort of vision, a direct contact with the truth (for example, when you are angry you don't need to think "I am angry", you know it without that. Direct knowledge is like that). Even when, later, he translates this knowledge into mental terms, it remains independent of them. Besides, only a part, fragmentary and deformed, can be translated. That is why I find it so difficult to express myself in words. If you had developed this faculty in yourself, I could have shown you the truth directly without putting it in words.
I am aware that I exist independently of my thoughts, but I am then weak and feeble, without knowledge and action.
It is a new state you must attain. You will see that your knowledge is not limited by thought.
So too, I do not see that thoughts are aroused in me by Prakriti. I know that the mind is not myself, but the thoughts seem to be born in the mind.
Yes, but in the universal mind, which formulates them in you. So long as you are confined to the physical brain, naturally you cannot have this understanding. But later, you will be able to discern this action of the universal mind which projects them into your mental field
How can one attain that?
Continue to stress the separation. You say that you can silence even the inner language, governed by the Purusha. Can you also separate your-self from him?
Yes, I observe him as outside myself.
Stress the separation still more. There are stages like this to pass. People remain more or less long at one stage or another .
Monday, April 19, 1926
This whole week I tried to withdraw again into the silent mind, but without much success. I have not yet come back to the point where I was before the arrival of X.
That great peace is there, behind. I have the feeling of a transparent milieu. I wonder whether this is not the experience the Christian mystics describe as the glassy sea and the Japanese as the Crystal Palace?
THERE are two principal forms under which one becomes aware of it: one is analogous to the sensation of a transparent stirless sea and the other of an ethereal expanse.
Last time you spoke to me about psychic knowledge and its character of truth. Does this knowledge concern facts, beings and events of the manifested world, or simply metaphysical truths?
The word "metaphysical" indicates a mental knowledge and there is in psychic knowledge a nearness, a concrete reality very different from intellectual speculation.
To say that it brings material knowledge would be wrong, that is not its field. It transforms the being into a being of truth, into a flame of aspiration for the truth. Psychic knowledge would be rather a contact, a feeling. When it is said that the heart knows better than the brain, one expresses something that would come near it, although there is a gulf between emotion, feeling and the psyche. The psychic being receives the truth but does not create it, as opposed to the supramental. There is a difference between the two.
The faculty of recognising the truth at first sight comes from intuition, one of the forms of the lower supramental knowledge. The true knowledge which never errs is that by identity.
Steiner distinguishes three degrees of occult knowledge: imaginative, inspired and unitive; the last, which cannot err, is probably knowledge by identity ?
The first form of intuition is clothed in mental forms which distort it. Moreover, the mind is not satisfied with what it receives and it crystallizes everything around its own accretions. There is something true and much that is false.
Besides, the mind learns to pass off its data under the appearance of intuitions. When the being begins to ask for intuitive knowledge, the personality sends its desires and prejudices under the guise of intuitions. And so at the beginning intuitive knowledge is not very sure. Then it develops; but even before it is brought to perfection, other modes of knowing develop.
There are' four grades in intuition, the elementary form of supramental truth:
Intuition proper, sporadic and irregular, which brings isolated elements. It gives the impression of remembering a latent, past or subconscient knowledge.
Discernment Here there is a process, a non-intellectual work which accepts certain elements and rejects others.
Inspiration Something comes from outside and expands within. Analogy of a voice which speaks in you.
Revelation Analogy of a vision.
I thought you would like to join us in the evenings, once or twice a week* Which day suits you?
* Till November 1926, the disciples used to gather around Sri Aurobindo in the evenings. (See A. B. Purani: Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo).)
With great joy. For me any day is suitable.
I shall let you know, later, on which days you may come.
Monday, April 26, 1926
This week my meditation was better, deeper and more regular. I feel the force descending into the centres: Anahata and Muladhara and even in the legs. At certain moments my legs become stiff. Also a greater calm which, if I could apply it directly to the mind, would quieten, by its single descent, the whole mind. Once I happened to see flashes of light.
You say your legs become stiff. Do you feel the force descending into the legs ?
In any case, I become conscious of my legs; the force is doing some work there.
It is possible, if you do not feel the force descending there but are only conscious of your legs, that the force which is trying to descend meets with an obstacle and that this is the cause of the stiffness you feel. When the force descends and presses, after the meditation one remains for a while unable to move. It is such a pressure. One may, however, remove this inability to move by applying the force itself. But if there is stiffness, perhaps there is struggle.
The calm you speak about, what is it?
The experience is not complete; I know I could make this force act to calm the mind; but this is not realised.
All this work is necessary on all the planes, so as to make possible the opening and the total awareness.
I want to say something about smoking. I used to smoke. When I came here I stopped smoking. But when the Xs came slowly I began again, just sometimes. Then I stopped once more. Lately, for ten days I have not smoked. But the desire comes back very strongly. I would like to get rid of it very much, for I am not its master.
If the desire is simply nervous it can easily be managed ; but if it finds a support in the vital and the mind, it is more difficult.
In principle there are two methods. The first is to cut off everything abruptly. To make a firm resolution and by an act of will refuse the consent. When the desire comes, to withdraw from it and to let it have its play below, unless one can throw it out also. The desire becomes weaker and weaker. The other method is to give the desire when it comes a little satisfaction and then to reject it. To give it a little bhoga*. But one must take care to make this only a means to arrive at the rejection. Not to indulge in it, for without that the resistance is indefinite.
These are the two methods used by yogis.
I have fought more or less for several years; but I don't seem to have come to any result. I want to be free from desire. Then smoking becomes a matter of indifference.
This is my experience in sexual matters. I had to struggle very hard for several years. Then the desire vanished abruptly, and left me quiet. However, I know it is not dead and that if circumstances were different it could wake up and come to life again.
That always happens when one fights it out. As for myself, I smoke a little, but for me it is all the same, and my mind is as calm when I do not smoke.
But in my case, I become the slave of tobacco; that is why I want to free myself from it. Anyway, I am going to do my best.
Monday, May 3, 1926
Nothing new in my sadhana. The mind does not fall quiet, although I feel the force descending into me. It is no longer, as at the outset, vibrating waves going straight to Muladhara. It is now a calmer force which flows gently and penetrates into me.
Where does this force come from ? From above ?
If I may localise it in space, I should speak of its origin as above the head. I try, besides, to unite with this force in this place.
Where is your consciousness ?
In the head.
At the top of the head?
When I can disengage myself and forget my body and sensations, my consciousness can be centred outside. But this is extremely difficult for me.
It is not necessary to forget one's body. If your consciousness were fixed in this place, you could continue to receive sense-impressions, but you would look at them from this place.
I would see them as outside myself?
At least as different from the calm zone which would be like an outer layer of your consciousness.
At present I am identified rather with this outer layer and I look at the inner calm layer. But I try to open myself as best I can to this force. Where is the difficulty ? In the mind or in the physical?
It is in the mind. But often a certain length of time is needed to obtain the first result. There is nothing for it but to persevere.
In my efforts to bring about this separation, I give rise to movements in the nervous fluid, and thus I often have nervous neuralgia.
It is not useful to make these efforts. It is rather through a calm will
that this separation comes about. When one makes efforts, often headaches or other little disorders appear.
The mind will not be always calm but there will be one region perpetually peaceful, inaccessible to movements which reach only the outer part.
Monday, May 10, 1926
Not much change. My mind seems to be more and more outside myself and I can look at its activities unmoved. It seeks to profit by every-thing to cling to its old way of feeling and acting; but even its sudden starts do not disturb me any longer as they used to do formerly.
To get this calm, which rests on the perception of the immutable Purusha, is the beginning of realisation.
Some days ago I had an experience during the night. I woke up about half an hour after midnight and, whilst coming back into my physical consciousness, the memory was transformed into a dream ; here it is. I was driving a car on a great wide road. In the car, several people, among others Mother and X. It was Mother who was directing me past ambushes with which the road was sown. Carriages passing in all directions, men ambushed to fire at us. "Take care of this", "Look out there", she was saying. I had a revolver within my reach.... It seems to me that this symbolises a passage through hostile forces. In this passage, I remember that at one moment X said, looking at me, "He is drowning, he is drowning". Immediately I perceived that I was being dragged away by these forces. At once I called the divine force which descended through the Sahasrara right down to the two lower chakras. With the help of this force, I pushed back the hostile forces and set myself afloat again. A little later I woke up. But for some time I was aware that the hostile forces were trying to force the wall and I pushed them back in the same way. The two lower centres were vibrating rapidly.
Carriages, horses and other symbols of movement indicate progress in occult evolution. This is a symbol of the vital plane.
Does the fact that I woke up mean that I was not able to sustain the effort?
Not at all. If you had not awakened, you would probably not have kept any remembrance of this.
(Then I passed on to another subject)
The evening talks on science and occultism interest me extremely. That was for long one of my ideals: to work for the union between science and occultism. But a moment came when I had to give up my ideals, as all the rest, to the Lord of Yoga. But it is possible a time may come when once again I could work at it.
Indeed, in Yoga, one must give up everything, all ideals even as all desires. A moment comes when what is true in the being, what is not mental but deeper, and which must be used by the Divine,—the moment comes when this is awakened. This happens when the force descends into the physical plane. What was mental or vital is rejected, but the true forms of action continue.
Monday, May 17, 1926
This week was a little better than the former ones ; the mind and vital were more submissive and the meditation more easy. But nothing new or particular. At times, when the mind is quite calm, it gives me the feeling of transparency, like a…jelly.
That is the word which best expresses what I mean.
Does the mind remain immobile of itself, without your putting, pressure on it ?
No, not yet; but there is, however, an automatic inner movement which puts me as observer before my mind...
This calm is necessary before calling down something higher, so as not to be disturbed by the invasion of thoughts.
Monday, May 24, 1926
The difficulty always comes from the mechanical part of the mind. it clings to everything it can find : small things of daily life, books, purchases, etc., and embroiders and builds upon these data. Nevertheless, there is a certain progress in the way I look at its activity; it seems more external.
You will not be able to free yourself completely from this mechanical activity until you have accomplished the transformation of the physical. Till then you will be able to stop it at will, during meditation, for instance. You will see it as outside yourself and have a certain influence on its line of unfoldment ; but you won't be entirely free from it.
I suppose I take too great an interest in these things : that is what enables my mind to get fastened to them. The highest parts of my mind have fallen silent : I no longer have any interest in spiritual books, like the Bhagavad-Gita or others. Only this mechanical part remains active.
Because this is the most difficult to handle. Moreover, the physical consciousness always takes interest in these things. And even if they were not in you, they fill the surrounding atmosphere. Unless one follows the Sannyasins, one must fight like you. But this is rather a negative thing and one must not attach too great an importance to it. A positive experience is more important ; that is, 'either the deep calm or the light from above. And these will quite naturally remove the rest of this mechanical activity. You must aim at this.
Is there a centre near the heart?
No. All the centres are in a straight line. That which is called "the heart centre" is at the solar plexus. Manipura is behind the navel. They are joined to the vertebral column.
Steiner speaks, besides the solar plexus, of the heart centre.
That is a mistake.
My body feels the effects of the heat. These days I was tired. Also, I did my meditation lying down. Is there any objection to that ?
You can meditate in any position whatever. I meditate often whilst walking.
You spoke about going out "in the vital body" and "in the mental body". What does the latter phrase mean?
When the vital body leaves the physical, the latter remains in trance, but if it is only the mind, this does not happen. The mind leaves, for instance, in meditation, and goes on a visit to certain places or certain planes. It can observe things there and even make itself felt. It is not even the whole mind which goes out thus, but a central portion, so to say. There are no dangers as of trance. If you are awakened, the mind comes back immediately without danger. It is not the same if the vital itself has gone out. A link ties it to the physical. As it is the life, if this thread is cut, death results. An abrupt recall is also dangerous.
As a rule, it is better to acquire a certain experience of the mental going-out and a mental knowledge of the planes before attempting the exit in the vital body.
So in this yoga the going-out in the mental body precedes that in the vital body?
Yes, but both these are yet subordinate to the spiritual experience which is much more important.
I understand that the spiritual experience is fundamental and that the rest is necessary simply because the perfection must be reached on all the planes.
Monday, May 31, 1926
My meditation is becoming deeper and more detached from the external world. At certain times I succeed in watching myself thinking. Thought does not yet seem to me as external; but I can nevertheless consider this activity as objective. I am also quite aware that thought is an altogether superficial activity and that it does not affect the deeper layers of my being but remains on the surface.
When the meditation becomes deep, my feet start aching.
What kind of sensation do you have?
At the same time like a pressure and a pulling out. Is it perhaps the vital being rising up to separate itself?
It may be that, or possibly it is a modification which is generally produced when the divine force transforms gradually even the physical substance. This substance is impure and cannot receive the impulsion without a previous transformation.
Is it the physical matter itself which changes or the life of this matter?
It is a cellular modification found above all within the vital and mental parts of the cells; but even physical matter shares in it.
In my meditations there are several inner attitudes which I can take and each one generates certain vital currents.
What attitudes, for instance?
I can try to take the stand of witness of the mental activity ; I can attempt to climb higher and hold fast to the uppermost position of my being. I can call the force down. In my last meditations, for instance, it was not above the head that I was centred but behind the solar plexus, in the depth and not on the height.
It is the region of the psychic being which is behind the "heart" (solar plexus). Here is one of the occult centres and it is this one that governs the ordinary man. You must also become conscious in the one above the head whence the central being governs everything.
But are not all these currents conflicting? I produce them blindly without knowing their effects. Which of these attitudes is good?
All. All this is good. You must only watch what happens. The solar centre and that in the head must cooperate in the perfect mastery of the instruments. Each has its role.
Should this attitude of witness of mental changes be held in all circumstances of ordinary life? At present, in these conditions I can manage only less important, semi-automatic activities. As soon as a certain attention is necessary, I get lost once again in action.
But this is not indispensable. It is a question of habit. You have not yet conquered the illusion which sees you as the doer. Naturally this witness attitude is necessary, it is a first step. All the parts of the mind can thus be made automatic. And from above one watches them; one can stop or modify them.
It is then a perfect mastery of the instruments. But in me this automatic activity is not yet sufficiently developed and I can entrust to it only less important tasks. Though there is already a progress in this.
Monday, June 7, 1926
There are cycles in my meditations : good periods and others when it is more difficult. At present I can quieten the mind quite well, detach myself from it and try to penetrate into a region which I feel above it. My mind now seems to me like a small portion of my real being. But there is above me a sort of veil which will not yield and which prevents me from going through. And when I succeed in thus quietening the mind and trying to penetrate it, I am aware of a pain, or rather of a sensation in the legs and feet, which thenceforth draws the attention of my being. I cannot separate myself from it, for the more efforts I make, the stronger does this sensation become.
There are parts in your physical consciousness which hold you back. You may be conscious of them or not. But when you try to pierce the veil, they hold you back. You are not ready. Also, it is necessary for the force from above to descend and prepare your lower consciousness. This veil may be crossed from below ; but that is more difficult and everybody cannot do it. But if the force descends from above, it can remove it. Hence, to open yourself to this force is the first necessity.
It means then that I should take a passive attitude and not try to centre my consciousness above.
The aim naturally is to lift yourself above the mind, but the force must prepare what is not ready. Even if the mind is calm, these imperfections hold you back.
What is the difference between the psychic being behind the heart-centre and the central being above the head? Are they two beings or one single being?
Naturally, from one point of view, they are one. But your being, though one, is composed of many distinct beings. Just as your mental being is different from your physical or vital beings, so the psychic being, the soul, is different from the central being.
The psychic being is the transmitter which receives the light and transmits it to the lower personality. It is that which remains at the back and governs the personality. The psychic being is in direct communication with the truth, which it organises and transmits to the outer being. The central being cannot organise the truth: it is above all evolution. It is the psychic being which develops spiritually through the different personalities.
It is then the central being which is above space and time and behind that which evolves through the successive personalities?
Yes. The psychic being is only the soul which develops, which holds and prepares the personality. The central being has no direct action; it presides and watches.
Yesterday evening I dined at the Xs. I narrated how the house of C. S. had burnt down. Mme. X began to think over this accident. Suddenly she felt a very unpleasant emanation which she described as being reddish-brown, nauseating. Indeed, I too had an unpleasant feeling. Then I returned home and went out again to the sea-side. Suddenly I was aware of the same unpleasant sensation. It was as if some entity was trying to bring about something evil. And I felt that I had to remain attentive, on my guard. By keeping the contact with my inner being, I was able to reject that easily.
She has as a matter of fact written about it, this morning. Mme. X is very sensitive to these influences. But there is no reason for you to become so, for you are not yet ready to work on the physical plane. It is infinitely better not to enter into contact with them but reject them.
It is probable that she has no connection with C.S.'s affairs ; but all these influences hold together and to think of one calls up others.
Is it not an imagination?
No, there was probably nothing imaginative in it. But you ought not to have anything to do with these forces. Throw them off vehemently, far away from you.
I did not try to enter into contact with them.
Some days ago, I dreamt that someone raised up a snake with his stick. Then he told me: take care, don't move, this make is venomous. So I remained still, and the snake passed by my side without touching me.
It was a warning. But there is no need to stir up snakes with sticks.
Monday, June 14, 1926*
* From this date, conversations with Sri Aurobindo were noted directly in English.
I try to understand the resistance that is in me. The only thing I do is to open myself to the force from above and to surrender utterly. Every time the force comes down I feel it going down to the solar plexus and then at the level of the belly a resistance is felt that translates itself into a stiffness of the legs and a peculiar feeling in the feet and hands also.
Now, I tried to see what part of the mind was connected with the resistance. It seems to me that it is the most material and physical part of the mind, that part which is busy with the form and the collection of forms, acquiring, dealing with objects, etc.
YES, but that ought not to interfere with anything. This part of the mind, the physical mind, is useful and has to do its work. It is not bad unless it tries to impose its desire. But I suppose that is not so. What do you feel exactly? And you said you feel the force outside your-self; don't you feel its workings inside also?
I feel it come down to the solar plexus, but nothing in the navel. Sometime before I felt also the muladhara. Now I don't feel it so distinctly, but there is no strict separation between inside and outside.
Two reasons for these sensations may be possible. First, the vitality of the limbs retires in deep meditation and as I am not yet accustomed I feel a little pain — or there is an obstacle in the path of the force.
There is an obstacle in the form of the physical mind. It is often the case with minds accustomed to be too active. They are not plastic enough, and they must wear out till they become fully passive to the divine force. Gradually this opposition will be overcome if you go on surrendering to the force.
Sometimes the force, coming down, does not permeate all the chakras and the light only descends up to what is ready. There is a partial enlightenment, which improves afterwards. That may be the case if some chakras remain untouched.
It seems to me also that I have to reject these lower movements of the mind, unless they are necessary, and to submit to them as little as possible.
Exactly so. This rejection is necessary.
Should I do some work like the study of Astrology now ?
I would not advise it. For the present leave the mind quiet until the calm settles. Then afterwards comes the period when the mind changes its workings. And a work can be taken as a field of action, to carry out the process.
The calm that I can, at certain times, produce in my mind is artificial, so to say. It is imposed by will and must be constantly watched so that no thought interferes — and it does not last long. But I know this is not the calm that has to come from above and to settle in the mind. Nevertheless I always feel that the calm is very close and the veil is thin and grows thinner and thinner. But I may be wrong in my expectations?
You said last time that I was not ready. That means that this part of the mind was not ready to admit the force?
Will it be overcome?
What happened is this. When you came here you took the work with a very strong aspiration. But as it goes the defects of the mind rise by and by and they have to be overcome.
That is true. From when I came till the coming of X.. was a period of hard work. Then with the coming of X..., for many reasons, I relaxed my effort and my mind asserted itself again in the old ways. I have not yet regained the former eagerness and I am now trying to regain it.
That is exactly so.
I suppose there is no need to feel discouraged. I am not at all discouraged, or even sad, about this process taking so long a time.
No need at all.
When I came here you saw in me certain possibilities and also certain difficulties. Now is there any change in the outlook?
I mean : do you think it will be possible for me to stay here?
Yes, Certainly. I have the conviction you will stay here.
Monday, June 21, 1926
There is a slow improvement but no radical change yet.
The pain in the legs has greatly diminished and I find less obstacles in the way of the force coming down.
But, nothing has changed. Truly I feel that a strong pressure is behind, that would, if unveiled, quickly stabilize the mind.
Do you feel it in the mind?
Yes, but I know it comes from above the mind.
Also, my mind has a lesser tendency to busy itself with all sorts of things. The obstacle is always, as it seems to me, that part of the mind which is active with the most outward aspects of things. For instance, the part of the mind that rejoices in making a collection of stamps. And I have still difficulty in retiring from it.
It is probably a small thing that keeps you up, but it is very obstinate.
I wonder whether the pain in the legs was not due to tobacco smoking, for, since I gave up tobacco ten days ago, the pain has decreased.
No, I don't think so. The craving for tobacco is more a vital desire and creates a vital obstacle. There is probably some resistance in the body itself.
But what is a little unusual is the resistance of the physical mind, at this stage. Generally it comes at a later stage, and when it comes it is very obstinate. But in your case, it seems to rise now; this may be due to the fact that we all are working in the physical mind and the resistance is there. All rises at the same time. You have to wear it out. That is all.
I know that I am doing the right thing and that I am in the proper way, so there is no anxiety in my mind.
I have always a great difficulty in separating from the physical body and my meditation is not deep. Every sound, which is a little insistent or recurring, calls my attention and breaks my meditation.
You need not be so disturbed. Is it not because you have a fixed idea that such a sound is able to disturb you ?
You could hear it without its leaving any impression in the mind. A part of the mind would know it, but the central part would not be in the least disturbed.
No doubt it is so. A feeble sound enters and goes on unnoticed, but once my attention is awakened, it is difficult to reject it into quietness.
Which is easier to separate from my true self: the body or the mind?
When you are out of the body, you are in the true mind!
Sometimes I feel a part of my consciousness somewhere before my face, but as soon as I begin realising it, I return speedily to my bodily consciousness.
Monday, June 28, 1926
Sometimes the activity of my mind is very painful. I feel tired and harassed by it. No doubt there is in me something that takes pleasure in this activity, for if there were none, it would cease of itself. But my conscious will and the greatest part of my being reject it and* ... in freedom. How is it that such a small part opposes victoriously the process?
*The author has left out a word here. We suppose he wanted to put "and want to remain".
It may be a small part, but it played an important part in past evolution.
In the beginning of the week, meditation was good. I succeeded in separating from the mind entirely and keeping it quiet for a while. But the last days were not successful. At times I feel harassed. Does the mental resistance not receive a support from the vital?
Yes, and from the physical also. The physical is the receptacle of the past habits and supports them. So too does the vital. Therefore no perfection is possible unless the vital is opened and the physical conquered.
But you should not insist so much upon the perfection of the mind. It cannot be perfect now — that is — quiet and luminous. But it must be sufficiently still to allow the force to come down and work. That is what is especially needed.
Last Tuesday I felt as if a great sweetness (there is no better word) was hovering upon me.
It is rather in that direction that you should go.
It means a more active surrender.
Yes. Not a mere negative effort in the mind. You should insist more upon the positive aspect. Negative blankness is not an end but a means.
How is it that even the faint experiences I had — light, deep calm of the mind — have receded and do not come back?
It happens so. There is no continuous and regular unfolding, but alternations of light and darkness — ebb and flow. But the experiences have to become more and more frequent and prolonged, until they come at will and mastery is gained.
Monday, July 12, 1926
My mind is becoming quieter and I am able to separate myself better from its workings.
There is also a kind of broadening of consciousness; I feel in touch, all around the head, with a living medium. It is yet very dim, only a beginning.
What I am doing is mostly to remain passive, allowing the force to flow down and to work. It then goes down to a little above the navel and expands.
I am watching the work of the force. It seems to me not very spiritual.
I mean it is of the nature of a sensation — not of course of a physical sensation — but not very distinct from it.
There is no such distinction between spiritual and material, in the sense that the force is working on a material level — so to say — that is, here, the psycho-physical, and there is nothing astonishing that you may feel that working. But it comes from above and has a set purpose: to render the bodies fit instruments for the spirit.
It happened twice that during meditation, my head was slowly bending backwards. Has this any meaning?
I don't see very well.
I did not come last week because I was then in the midst of a struggle and did not find myself worthy of coming. It has been a difficult time — over powered by the mind. But now it is better. Always the alternate coming of night and daylight.
You spoke of a broadening of consciousness. That is an important part of the process. If that were firmly established, it would go all right. The essential thing to do is to watch closely the forces, to follow the divine force in its workings and see how it works, to see what happens and how it happens.
The force may come down for organising the vehicles, it may work from above or it may organise experiences. All this has to be watched.
Sometimes, in meditation, images occur in the field of vision. But they are not very vivid and they have the same character as the images of a dream. Moreover, I never noticed any element in them unknown to my consciousness. They are remembrances or due to habitual linking of thoughts. I have always tried to reject these images. Is it all right?
The faculty of observing images should not be opposed either. It may be that the present images are nothing but thought-images, but -it may cover a more delicate working. And this may be the basis for something higher. You should not discourage this faculty, but you should remain watching them, not being taken away by them.
When looking at such images, I begin to think : What is that ? Oh, this is so and so, and so on, and my thinking (inner speech) begins to influence the images themselves which shape themselves differently.
Of course, this thinking has to stop, for it spoils everything. What is. needed is passivity without losing oneself.
Monday, July 19, 1926
This week has been calm and quiet — the meditation good.
There is a slow improvement in the separation from the acting mind — and also an increasing peace and joy. There is nothing else to be said.
I received a letter from my friend Y, whose wife is at Geneva. He sent me a lecture of his about internationalism and it will perhaps show you better what the man is.
(After reading it) It is more about nationalism than internationalism! He uses still crude language.
Yes, he talks about love between nations. Love between nations is an absurdity. The love that man can become conscious of for his fellow-beings is the experience of identity, and only a few can know it. If the leaders, the brains of a nation, could know it, that would be all right, but nothing more can be expected. And to speak about love in such a way is only to prepare war.
Because it is a false ideal. False because not practical. Of course the Society of Nations is based actually upon greed and vanity. But to break it all of a sudden is an impossible task, at the present state of humanity. Something can be done, but to hope that love can be the next motto of it, is foolish.
About him, I feel as if these ideals were coming more from the vital plane than from elsewhere. He is not a mental man and has always had the ideal of a mission to fulfil, of being guided towards it by higher entities. In what way can I help him?
Of course, the life energy he speaks of is a vital energy and it catches ideals and ideas to support itself. This is a common fact and it is all right for those who are not destined for the spiritual life. In such a case one has to recognize that such ideals are not final and to understand their proper nature. But to destroy this would mean that you would have something higher to give him.
He seems to be perfectly happy today. In his letter he says that his soul is full of joy.
Then it is better to leave him, not to meddle with his evolution, until he demands something higher.
May I come more often at the evening sittings?
Yes, you may come.