Letters of Sri Aurobindo
2. Integral Yoga and Other Paths
Fragment ID: 166
See letter itself (letter ID: 445)
Sri Aurobindo — Roy, Dilip Kumar
April 15, 1934
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I have not read R’s1 writings nor am I at all acquainted with his personality or what may be the level of his experience. The words you quote from him could be expressions either of a simple faith or of a pantheistic experience; evidently, if they are used or intended to establish the thesis that the Divine is everywhere and is all and therefore all is good, being Divine, they are very insufficient for that purpose. But as an experience, it is a very common thing to have this feeling or realisation in the Vedantic sadhana – in fact without it there would be no Vedantic sadhana. I have had it myself on various levels of consciousness and in numerous forms and I have met scores of people who have had it very genuinely – not as an intellectual theory or perception, but as a spiritual reality which was too concrete for them to deny whatever paradoxes it may entail for the ordinary intelligence.
Of course it does not mean that all here is good or that in the estimation of values a brothel is as good as an Ashram, but it does mean that all are part of one manifestation and that in the inner heart of the harlot as in the inner heart of the sage or saint there is the Divine. Again his experience is that there is One Force working in the world both in its good and in its evil – one Cosmic Force; it works both in the success (or failure) of the Ashram and in the success (or failure) of the brothel. Things are done in this world by the use of the force, although the use made is according to the nature of the user, one uses it for the works of Light, another for the works of Darkness, yet another for a mixture. I don’t think any Vedantin (except perhaps some modernised ones) would maintain that all is good here – the orthodox Vedantic idea is that all is here an inextricable mixture of good and evil, a play of the Ignorance and therefore a play of the dualities. The Christian missionaries, I suppose, hold that all that God does is morally good, so they are shocked by the Taoist priests aiding the work of the brothel by their rites. But do not the Christian priests invoke the aid of God for the destruction of men in battle and did not some of them sing Te Deums over a victory won by the massacre of men and the starvation of women and children? The Taoist who believes only in the Impersonal Tao is more consistent and the Vedantin who believes that the Supreme is beyond good and evil, but that the Cosmic Force the Supreme has put out here works through the dualities, therefore through both good and evil, joy and suffering, has a theory which at least accounts for the double fact of the experience of the Supreme which is All Light, All Bliss and All Beauty and a world of mixed light and darkness, joy and suffering, what is fair and what is ugly. He says that the dualities come by a separative Ignorance and so long as you accept this separative Ignorance, you cannot get rid of that, but it is possible to draw back from it in experience and to have the realisation of the Divine in all and the Divine everywhere and then you begin to realise the Light, Bliss and Beauty behind all and this is the one thing to do. Also you begin to realise the one Force and you can use it or let it use you for the growth of the Light in you and others – no longer for the satisfaction of the ego and for the works of the ignorance and darkness.
As to the dilemma about the cruelty of things, I do not know what answer R10 would give. One answer might be that the Divine within is felt through the psychic being and the nature of the psychic being is that of the Divine Light, Harmony, Love, but it is covered by the mental and separative vital ego from which strife, hate, cruelty naturally come. It is therefore natural to feel in the kindness the touch of the Divine, while the cruelty is felt as a disguise or perversion in Nature, although that would not prevent the man who has the realisation from feeling and meeting the Divine behind the disguise. I have known even instances in which the perception of the Divine in all accompanied by an intense experience of universal love or a wide experience of an inner harmony had an extraordinary effect in making all around kind and helpful, even the most coarse and hard and cruel. Perhaps it is some such experience which is at the base of R’s11 statement about the kindness. As for the Divine working, the experience of the Vedantin’s realisation is that behind the confused mixture of good and evil something is working that he realises as the Divine and in his own life he can look back and see what each step, happy or unhappy, meant for his progress and how it led towards the growth of his spirit. Naturally this comes fully as the realisation progresses; before that he had to walk by faith and may have often felt his faith fail and yielded to grief, doubt and despair for a time.
As for my writings, I don’t know if there is any that would clear up the difficulty. You would find mostly the statement of the Vedantic experience, for it is that through which I passed and, though now I have passed to something beyond, it seems to me the most thorough-going and radical preparation for whatever is beyond, though I do not say that it is indispensable to pass through it. But whatever the solution, it seems to me that the Vedantin is right in insisting that one must, to arrive at it, admit the two facts, the prevalence of evil and suffering here and the experience of that which is free from these things – and it is only by the progressive experience that one can get a solution – whether through reconciliation, a conquering descent or an escape. If we start from the basis taken as an axiom that the prevalence of suffering and evil in the present and in the hard, outward fact of things, disproves of itself all that has been experienced by sages and mystics of the other side, the realisable Divine, then no solution seems possible.
1 Ramdas’s.– Ed.
2 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: is very
3 SABCL, volume 26: had
4 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: sage
5 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: work
6 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: is all
7 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: in
8 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2; CWSA, volumes 29, 35: thesis
9 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: for
12 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2; CWSA, volumes 29, 35: Vedantic
13 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: that
14 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: beyond the most
15 Sri Aurobindo to Dilip.- Vol. 2: by the sages
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga // SABCL.- Volume 22. (≈ 28 vol. of CWSA).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.- 502 p.
[A letter: ] Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo to Dilip / edited by Sujata Nahar, Shankar Bandyopadhyay.- 1st ed.- In 4 Volumes.- Volume 2. 1934 – 1935.- Pune: Heri Krishna Mandir Trust; Mysore: Mira Aditi, 2003.- 405 p.
Sri Aurobindo. On Himself // SABCL.- Volume 26. (≈ 35 vol. of CWSA)
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Himself and the Ashram // CWSA.- Volume 35. (≈ 26 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2011.- 658 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga. II // CWSA.- Volume 29. (≈ 22-24 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2013.- 522 p.