Editor’s note: We feature here one marvellous passage from Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Thoughts and Glimpses‘ followed by the Mother’s commentary on it. Here we also get the answer to what is really needed at this critical juncture of evolutionary crisis faced by the humanity. Only a few formatting changes are made for easier reading in the online mode.
Sri Aurobindo Writes
“Wherever thou seest a great end, be sure of a great beginning. Where a monstrous and painful destruction appals thy mind, console it with the certainty of a large and great creation. God is there not only in the still small voice, but in the fire and in the whirlwind.
“The greater the destruction, the freer the chances of creation; but the destruction is often long, slow and oppressive, the creation tardy in its coming or interrupted in its triumph. The night returns again and again and the day lingers or seems even to have been a false dawning. Despair not therefore but watch and work. Those who hope violently, despair swiftly: neither hope nor fear, but be sure of God’s purpose and thy will to accomplish.
“The hand of the divine Artist works often as if it were unsure of its genius and its material. It seems to touch test and leave, to pick up and throw away and pick up again, to labour and fail and botch and repiece together. Surprises and disappointments are the order of his work before all things are ready. What was selected, is cast away into the abyss of reprobation; what was rejected, becomes the cornerstone of a mighty edifice. But behind all this is the sure eye of a knowledge which surpasses our reason and the slow smile of an infinite ability.
“God has all time before him and does not need to be always in a hurry. He is sure of his aim and success cares not if he break his work a hundred times to bring it nearer perfection. Patience is our first great necessary lesson, but not the dull slowness to move of the timid, the sceptical, the weary, the slothful, the unambitious or the weakling; a patience of a calm and gathering strength which watches and prepares itself for the hour of swift great strokes, few but enough to change destiny.
“Wherefore God hammers so fiercely at his world, tramples and kneads it like dough, casts it so often into the blood-bath and the red hell-heat of the furnace? Because humanity in the mass is still a hard, crude and vile ore which will not otherwise be smelted and shaped; as is his material, so is his method. Let it help to transmute itself into nobler and purer metal, his ways with it will be gentler and sweeter, much loftier and fairer its uses.
“Wherefore he selected or made such a material, when he had all infinite possibility to choose from? Because of his divine Idea which saw before it not only beauty and sweetness and purity, but also force and will and greatness. Despise not force, nor hate it for the ugliness of some of its faces, nor think that love only is God. All perfect perfection must have something in it of the stuff of the hero and even of the Titan. But the greatest force is born out of the greatest difficulty.“
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 13, pp. 209-210 (emphasis added)
The Mother Explains
After all, the whole problem is to know whether humanity has reached the state of pure gold or whether it still needs to be tested in the crucible.
One thing is evident, humanity has not become pure gold; that is visible and certain.
But something has happened in the world’s history which allows us to hope that a selected few in humanity, a small number of beings, perhaps, are ready to be transformed into pure gold and that they will be able to manifest strength without violence, heroism without destruction and courage without catastrophe.
But in the very next paragraph Sri Aurobindo gives the answer: “If man could once consent to be spiritualised.” If only the individual could consent to be spiritualised. . . could consent.1
Having a Taste for the Supreme Adventure
Something in him asks for it, aspires, and all the rest refuses, wants to continue to be what it is: the mixed ore which needs to be cast into the furnace.
At the moment we are at a decisive turning-point in the history of the earth, once again. From every side I am asked, “What is going to happen?” Everywhere there is anguish, expectation, fear. “What is going to happen?. . .” There is only one reply: “If only man could consent to be spiritualised.”
And perhaps it would be enough if some individuals became pure gold, for this would be enough to change the course of events. . . We are faced with this necessity in a very urgent way.
This courage, this heroism which the Divine wants of us, why not use it to fight against one’s own difficulties, one’s own imperfections, one’s own obscurities? Why not heroically face the furnace of inner purification so that it does not become necessary to pass once more through one of those terrible, gigantic destructions which plunge an entire civilisation into darkness?
This is the problem before us. It is for each one to solve it in his own way.
This evening I am answering the questions I have been asked, and my reply is that of Sri Aurobindo: If man could once consent to be spiritualised. . .
And I add: Time presses. . . from the human point of view.
- The Mother is referring to the next section in Sri Aurobindo’s Thoughts and Glimpses which begins with – “All would change if man could once consent to be spiritualised; but his nature, mental and vital and physical, is rebellious to the higher law. He loves his imperfection.” (CWSA, Vol. 13, p. 210)
The Mother, CWM, Vol. 9, pp. 73-75
~ Design: Beloo Mehra