Editor’s note: We feature here a few selections from Sri Aurobindo’s letters and the Mother’s conversations with the disciples. They remind us of the complexity of the being and guide us on how to work upon the parts of the being which are less open to the Divine. These passages also highlight the ways in which an inner poise of peace and calm prepares a sadhak to meet the attacks of adverse forces on the path.
The editors have made a few formatting changes for the purpose of digital presentation.
Working on the Parts of the Being Less Open to Peace and Force
The thing is that it is unavoidable in the course of the sadhana that some parts of the being should be less open, less advanced, as yet less aware of the Peace and Force, less intimate to them than others.
These parts have to be worked upon, and changed, but this can be done smoothly only if you are detached from them, able to regard them as not your very self, even though a part of the nature you have to change.
Then when they appear with their defects, you will not be upset, not carried away by their movements, lost to the sense of the Peace and Force; you will be able to work on them (or rather let the Force work) as one would on a machine that has to be repaired or a work that has defects and has to be done better this time.
If you identify yourself with these parts, then it is very troublesome. The work will still be done, the change made, but with delay, with bad upsettings, in a painful and not in a smooth way.
That is why we always tell people to be calm and detached and look upon these things not as their true selves but as an outer part that has to be worked upon quietly until it is what it should be.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 31, p. 347
Keep the Quiet Consistently
You must remember that your being is not one simple whole, all of one kind, of one piece, but complex, made up of many things. There are the inner parts of the being which are easily conscious of the Truth and Divine,—when these come forward, then all is well.
There is the external being which is full of past ignorance and defect and weakness, but has begun to change. It is not yet sufficiently changed or changed in all its parts.
When any part that is partly changed opens strongly to the peace and force, then all the rest become either quite quiet or not very active and you are aware of the peace and force and at ease or else aware only vaguely of confusion etc. somewhere.
But when something ignorant comes up from below or is a little prominent (or else some old movement of consciousness that was thrown out returns and clouds you), then you feel the peace, the force as something alien to you or non-existent or outside you or at a distance.
If you keep the quiet persistently, then this instability will begin to decrease, the Mother’s Force will get in everywhere and, though there will still be much to do, there will be a firm foundation for what has to be done.
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 31, p. 643
Peace, Persistence and Renunciation: Two Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Peace and Purity
If you can feel even in these attacks that part in you in which there is constant Peace even amidst the pains and darkness, and if you can keep it always, that is an immense gain. The something in you which does not always feel it, which remains half way, undecided, must also now take the step of complete surrender.
It is only a part of your physical mind that does not understand, that receives back the old ideas—that must be converted. It does not matter about the weakness and incapacities—when the full peace and Power is there in the physical, they will be removed. [. . .]
Vital purity is very necessary, but it is not easy to make it immune from attack unless the wideness is there along with a solid spiritual purity and peace descending in the wideness. Of course, wideness by itself is not sufficient.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 31, pp. 793-794
Forces of Lower Nature and Hostile Forces
There are [at work in the world] the higher forces of the Divine Nature—the forces of Light, Truth, divine Power, Peace, Ananda—there are the forces of the lower nature which belong either to a lower truth or to ignorance and error—there are also the hostile forces whose whole aim is to maintain the reign of Darkness, Falsehood, Death and Suffering as the law of life.
The lower nature is ignorant and undivine, not in itself hostile but shut to the Light and Truth. The hostile forces are antidivine, not merely undivine; they make use of the lower nature, pervert it, fill it with distorted movements and by that means influence man and even try to enter and possess or at least entirely control him.
Free yourself from all exaggerated self-depreciation and the habit of getting depressed by the sense of sin, difficulty or failure. These feelings do not really help, on the contrary, they are an immense obstacle and hamper the progress. They belong to the religious, not to the Yogic mentality.
The Yogin should look on all the defects of the nature as movements of the lower prakriti common to all and reject them calmly, firmly and persistently with full confidence in the Divine Power—without weakness or depression or negligence and without excitement, impatience or violence.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 31, p. 763
Calling Peace to Meet Adverse Forces
How is one to meet adverse forces—forces that are invisible and yet quite living and tangible?
A great deal depends upon the stage of development of your consciousness. At the beginning, if you have no special occult knowledge and power, the best you can do is to keep as quiet and peaceful as possible.
If the attack takes the form of adverse suggestions try quietly to push them away, as you would some material object. The quieter you are, the stronger you become.
The firm basis of all spiritual power is equanimity. You must not allow anything to disturb your poise: you can then resist every kind of attack.
If, besides, you possess sufficient discernment and can see and catch the evil suggestions as they come to you, it becomes all the more easy for you to push them away; but sometimes they come unnoticed, and then it is more difficult to fight them.
When that happens, you must sit quiet and call down peace and a deep inner quietness. Hold yourself firm and call with confidence and faith: if your aspiration is pure and steady, you are sure to receive help.
~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 33-34
“The Method of the Divine Manifestation is through Calm and Harmony”
The method of the Divine Manifestation is through calm and harmony, not through a catastrophic upheaval. The latter is the sign of a struggle, generally of conflicting vital forces, but at any rate a struggle on the inferior plane.
You think too much of adverse forces. That kind of preoccupation causes much unnecessary struggle. Fix your mind on the positive side—open to the Mother’s power, concentrate on her protection, call for light, calm and peace and purity and growth into the divine consciousness and knowledge.
This idea of tests also is not a healthy idea and ought not to be pushed too far. Tests are applied not by the Divine but by the forces of the lower planes—mental, vital, physical—and allowed by the Divine because that is part of the soul’s training and helps it to know itself, its powers and the limitations it has to outgrow.
The Mother is not testing you at every moment, but rather helping you at every moment to rise beyond the necessity of tests and difficulties which belong to the inferior consciousness. To be always conscious of that help will be your best safeguard against all attacks whether of adverse powers or of your own lower nature.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 31, pp. 760-761
~ Graphic Design: Biswajita Mohapatra