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At the Feet of The Mother

Yoga of the Body Part 22: Mastering Anger and Lust (HH 063)

Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is a yoga of Transformation and not a rejection of life. But equally it insists on reshaping life in the divine image and not a continuation of the past old nature as it is. The lower nature has to be rejected and the new consciousness must find room in its place. The basic premise is that what we know as our present nature is a shadow, a distortion of the higher Divine Nature just as the ego is the shadow and distortion of the true divine individual within us. How are we to get rid of the lower movements is a crucially important question. The present talk explores some of these issues.


Words of Sri Aurobindo

The next instrument which needs perfection is the citta, and within the complete meaning of this expression we may include the emotional and the pure psychical being. This heart and psychic being of man shot through with the threads of the life instincts is a thing of mixed inconstant colours of emotion and soul vibrations, bad and good, happy and unhappy, satisfied and unsatisfied, troubled and calm, intense and dull. Thus agitated and invaded it is unacquainted with any real peace, incapable of a steady perfection of all its powers. By purification, by equality, by the light of knowledge, by a harmonising of the will it can be brought to a tranquil intensity and perfection. The first two elements of this perfection are on one side a high and large sweetness, openness, gentleness, calm, clarity, on the other side a strong and ardent force and intensity. In the divine no less than in ordinary human character and action there are always two strands, sweetness and strength, mildness and force, saumya and raudra, the force that bears and harmonises, the force that imposes itself and compels, Vishnu and Ishana, Shiva and Rudra. The two are equally necessary to a perfect world action. The perversions of the Rudra power in the heart are stormy passion, wrath and fierceness and harshness, hardness, brutality, cruelty, egoistic ambition and love of violence and domination. These and other human perversions have to be got rid of by the flowering of a calm, clear and sweet psychical being.

But on the other hand incapacity of force is also an imperfection. Laxity and weakness, self-indulgence, a certain flabbiness and limpness or inert passivity of the psychical being are the last result of an emotional and psychic life in which energy and power of assertion have been quelled, discouraged or killed. Nor is it a total perfection to have only the strength that endures or to cultivate only a heart of love, charity, tolerance, mildness, meekness and forbearance. The other side of perfection is a self-contained and calm and unegoistic Rudra-power armed with psychic force, the energy of the strong heart which is capable of supporting without shrinking an insistent, an outwardly austere or even, where need is, a violent action. An unlimited light of energy, force, puissance harmonised with sweetness of heart and clarity, capable of being one with it in action, the lightning of Indra starting from the orb of the nectarous moon-rays of Soma is the double perfection. And these two things saumyatva, tejas, must base their presence and action on a firm equality of the temperament and of the psychical soul delivered from all crudity and all excess or defect of the heart’s light or the heart’s power.

The Synthesis of Yoga: The Power of the Instruments, p. 737

* * *

(All of us assembled in the hope of hearing something from Sri Aurobindo. I was actually praying for it. But he did not seem to be in a talking mood. So we were forced to keep quiet at the same time thinking how to draw him into conversation and by what question. Suddenly we find X. beaming with a smile and looking at Sri Aurobindo. Then he takes a few more moves nearer to Sri Aurobindo and we automatically follow him, he still nears and then he bursts out with a question : “To attain right attitude what principles should we follow in our dealing and behaviour with others?”

Sri Aurobindo could not quite catch the question so it was repeated.

It seems to me the other way about. If we have the right attitude other things come by themselves. Right attitude is necessary; what is important is the inner attitude. Spiritual and ethical principles are quite different, for every thing depends on whether it is done for the sake of the Spirit or ethical reasons.

One may observe mental control in dealings etc. but the inner state may be quite different e.g. he may not show anger, may be humble externally, but internally he may be proud and full of anger, for example A. When he came here he was full of humility outside. It is the psychic control that is required and when that is there right attitude follows in one’s external behaviour. Conduct must flow from within outwards and the more one opens to the psychic influence the more it gains over the outer nature. Mental control may or may not lead to the spiritual. In people of a certain type it may be the first step towards psychic control.

How to get psychic control?

By constant remembrance, consecration of ourselves to the Divine, rejection of all that stands in the way of the psychic influence. Generally, it is the vital that stands in the way with its desires and demands. And once the psychic opens it shows at every step what is to be done…… One can repeat the name of the Divine and come to divine consciousness.

How does name do it? 

Name has a power like Mantra. Everything in the world is power. There are others who do Pranayama along with the name. After a time the repetition behind the Pranayama becomes automatic and one feels Divine presence etc. Here people once began to feel tremendous force in their work. They would work without fatigue for hours and hours, but they began to overdo it. One has to be reasonable even in spirituality. That was when the Sadhana was in the vital. But when it began in the physical then things were different. Physical is like a stone, full of inertia and resistance.

What difference is there between modification of nature and its transformation?

Transformation is the casting of the whole nature in the mould of realization. What you realize you project out in your nature. Christian Saints speak of the presence in the heart. That presence can change the nature.

I speak of three transformations : 1) Psychic, 2) Spiritual and 3) Supramental. Psychic transformation many had; spiritual is the realization of the Self, the Infinite above, with its dynamic side of peace, knowledge, ananda etc. That transformation is spiritual transformation and above that is the Supramental transformation. It is Truth-consciousness working for a Divine aim or purpose.

If one has inner realization does transformation follow in the light of the realization? 

Not necessarily. There may be some modification in the nature-part but the transformation is not automatic. It is not so easy as all that. My experience of peace and calm in the first contact with Lele has never left me, but in my outer nature there were many agitations and every time I had to make an effort to establish peace. From that time onwards the whole object of my yoga was to change nature into the mould of the inner realization. I had to try to change or transform these by the influence of my realization.

Even then a man with inner realization, I don’t mean experience won’t have grave difficulties such as sex in his nature. 

Why not? There can be anger, like Durvasa’s or sex. You have not heard of the fall of Rishis through anger or through sex? The Yogis pass beyond the stage of good and evil. Ordinary questions of morality don’t arise in them. They look upon outer nature as a child behaving according to its wants.

Would not the inner realization stop because of these outer indulgences. 

It depends on how far one has gone in the path in spiritual realization. There are any number of passages, crossways and paths; one may be at liberty to whatever yoga one likes. But in our yoga we insist on the transformation of outer nature as well. And when I say something is necessary in yoga, it means in “our yoga”; it does not apply to yoga with other aims.

December 22, 1938

* * *

A letter from X’s husband which raised certain general questions about the relation of man and woman in this yoga. He wants to exercise the conjugal right with his wife. Both have written to Sri Aurobindo, separately for guidance.

The husband’s argument :

“Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is not a yoga of renunciation and even if renunciation was to be carried out I shall carry it out gradually, I am not able to control myself. I want to know : What is the relation between man and woman in this yoga ?”

Sri Aurobindo replied : “This is not a yoga of renunciation in the sense that one has not to reject life or the world externally. But that does not mean that one has to give room to lower forces and allow them full play in their lower forms.

“This is a yoga of rising into the Divine Nature from the lower nature. What that higher Nature is you will understand afterwards. You have to become fit for it. You can now see your lower nature; especially the vital play of Kama (lust) and Krodha (anger) etc – is essentially the Dharma – the functioning – of the animal man. You have to rise into the Divine Nature by rejecting the lower nature. How can you get the Divine Nature unless you conquer the nature of the animal-man in you ? The first step has been given to you : you must learn to separate yourself as the Purusha, and look unmoved at all the play of nature in you. You must externalise the play and see all its actions as outside yourself. You ought not to allow any mental justification for the play of the lower forces of the vital beings. The Shuddhi – purification –  necessary in this yoga cannot be attained with the forces of lust and anger and there is no question of harbouring them.”

Then Sri Aurobindo continued :

“In this matter, you must resort to simple thinking and simple action, leaving all mental complications and Shastric injunctions. You must not allow the intellect to play with them. Your ideas about Spastic injunctions are nothing else but justifications. Really it is the lower play of the vital being. In this rejection of the lower nature you ought to be ever alert – vigilant.

The ideal relation between man and woman in this yoga you cannot at present understand. You have, first, to make yourself fit for it. Your own ideas of married life and Shastra etc. are dangerous and if you follow these ideas there is every chance of your fall from the yoga. All of them are mental constructions. The first thing in a case where both man and woman are aspirants is to help each other in Sadhana, the spiritual effort. They must exchange their forces and help each other to rise into the Higher Consciousness.

Secondly, there is the question of love. What most People call ‘love’ is a superficial thing and mostly bound up with the vital craving of lust. That has to be completely rejected.

There is a relation deeper than that :  it is of the Soul. That relation comes from within by itself. It manifests itself in both as an ideal oneness – oneness in mind, oneness of the soul, oneness of self. That relation is Shanta, full of peace, wide, pure – pavitra. In it there is no trace of vital lust and physical craving. There is also possible a relation of Purusha and Shakti between man and woman. But that relation is not social, it is not ordinary. Because one is married to a certain woman it does not follow that his wife is necessarily his Shakti.

So long as these relations are not understood and experienced by you another possible relation is that of friends. That is to say, you ought to live with your wife just as you would with a friend who has the same aim of life, without any other relation than that of friendship.

You must remove the misunderstanding from your mind about your wife that she does not love you, etc. She has an aspiration for the yoga and therefore she wants to reject all the lower play of nature from herself and from you. You ought not to press her or induce her to fall from the path of yoga. If you can’t control yourself you should live separately and fight your nature.

You write about passivity and activity : you have to understand and know what they are. When one begins yoga, naturally, all the forces on the mental – and especially on the vital-plane, that are hostile to the Siddhi of this yoga, are bound to rise and one must be active in rejecting them – what the Gita calls apramatta – because the Purusha is not only sāksi – the witness – but anumantā – one who gives consent. This activity of rejection must be always there. Even if you fall you must rise up again and again and fight.

Passivity merely means a calm inactive attitude of mind keeping it open to the higher influence and ready to accept the light, power, knowledge, Ananda that come from Above.

It, must be a prayerful mood so that the knowledge may come down. When the higher knowledge comes one ought not to allow the mind to get active with it, but must allow that knowledge to come more and more by keeping the mind passive.

Both passivity and activity are legitimate movements of this yoga in the beginning. The highest, the true passivity will, of course, come afterwards. If you remain passive now, you will open yourself to all sorts of influences and accept all kinds of suggestions, ideas etc. coming from outside – from the universal nature. You will mistake them for those coming from the higher Power.”

October 4, 1925

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