Letters of Sri Aurobindo
Letter ID: 201
Sri Aurobindo — Roy, Dilip Kumar
January 14, 1932
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I send you the promised letter today1; you will see that it is less a reply to the exact terms of your letter than a “defence of the gospel of divinisation of life” against the strictures and the incomprehensions of the mentality (or more often the vitality) that either misunderstands or shrinks from it – or perhaps misunderstands because it shrinks, and shrinks too because it misunderstands both my method and my object. It is not a complete defence, but only raises or answers a main point here and there. The rest will come hereafter.
But all language is open to misunderstanding; so I had better in sending on the letter make or try to make certain things clear.
1. Although I have laid stress on things divine in answer to an excessive (because contrary) insistence on things human, it must not be understood that I reject everything human,– human love or worship or any helpful form of human approach as part of the Yoga. I have never done so, otherwise the Ashram could not be in existence. The sadhaks who enter the Yoga are human beings and if they were not allowed a human approach at the beginning and long after, they would not be able to start the Yoga or would not be able to continue it. The discussion arises only because the word “human” is used in practice, not only as identical with the human vital (and the outward mind), but with certain forms of the human vital ego-nature. But the human vital has many other things in it and is full of excellent material. All that is asked by the Yoga is that this material should be utilised in the right way and with the right spiritual attitude and also, that the human approach to the Divine should not be constantly turned into a human revolt and reproach against it. And that too we ask only for the sake of the success of the approach itself and of the human being who is making it.
2. Divinisation itself does not mean the destruction of the human elements; it means taking them up, showing them the way to their own perfection, raising them by purification and perfection to their full power and Ananda. And that means the raising of the whole of earthly life to its full power and Ananda.
3. If there were not a resistance in vital human nature, a pressure of forces adverse to the change, forces which delight in imperfection and even in perversion, this change would effect itself without difficulty by a natural and painless flowering – as, for example, your own powers of poetry and music have flowered out here with rapidity and ease under the light and rain of a spiritual and psychic influence – because everything in you desired that change and your vital was willing to recognise imperfections, to throw away any wrong attitude – e.g., the desire for mere fame, and to be dedicated and perfect. Divinisation of life means, in fact, a greater art of life; for the present art of life produced by ego and ignorance is something comparatively mean, crude and imperfect (like the lower forms of art, music and literature which are yet more attractive to the ordinary human mind and vital), and it is by a spiritual and psychic opening and refinement that it has to reach its true perfection. This can only be done by its being steeped in the divine Light and Flame in which its material will be stripped of all heavy dross and turned into the true metal.
4. Unfortunately, there is the resistance, a very obscure and obstinate resistance. That necessitates a negative element in the Yoga, an element of rejection of things that stand in the way and of pressure upon those forms that are crude and useless to disappear, on those that are useful but imperfect or have been perverted to retain or to recover their true movement. To the vital this pressure is very painful, first, because it is obscure and does not understand and, secondly, because there are parts of it that want to be left to their crude motions and not to change. That is why the intervention of a psychic attitude is so helpful. For the psychic has the happy confidence, the ready understanding and response, the spontaneous surrender; it knows that the touch of the Guru is meant to help and not to hurt, or, like Radha in the poem, that whatever the Beloved does is meant to lead to the Divine Rapture.
5. At the same time, it is not from the negative part of the movement that you have to judge the Yoga, but from its positive side; for the negative part is temporary and transitional and will disappear, the positive alone counts for the ideal and for the future. If you take conditions which belong to the negative side and to a transitional movement (like the drawing back of the Mother), as the law of the future and the indication of the character of the Yoga, you will commit a serious misjudgement, a grave mistake. This Yoga is not a rejection of life or of closeness and intimacy between the Divine and the sadhaks. Its ideal aims at the greatest closeness and unity on the physical as well as the other planes, at the most divine largeness and fullness and joy of life.
I shall perhaps – I am not quite sure yet of the time – be able to put at your disposal before very long something in writing which will indicate, not in the very inadequate form of intellectual explanation, but in a way more vivid and convincing especially for a poet and artist, what is really the positive aim and experience of a changed being under the Divine touch in this Yoga7.
1 This is the next letter of 14 January.
2 SABCL, volume 22; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 1 Ser. of human
3 SABCL, volume 22; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 1 Ser. for the success
4 CWSA, volume 29: attain
5 SABCL, volume 22; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 1 Ser. is painful
6 SABCL, volume 22; CWSA, volume 29; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 1 Ser. movement as
7 Sri Aurobindo is perhaps alluding here to Savitri.
[A letter: ] Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo to Dilip / edited by Sujata Nahar, Michel Danino, Shankar Bandopadhyay.- 1st ed.- In 4 Volumes.- Volume 1. 1929 – 1933.- Pune: Heri Krishna Mandir Trust; Mysore: Mira Aditi, 2003.- 384 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga // SABCL.- Volume 22. (≈ 28 vol. of CWSA).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.- 502 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga. II // CWSA.- Volume 29. (≈ 22-24 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2013.- 522 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters of Sri Aurobindo: In 4 Series.- First Series [On Yoga].- Bombay: Sri Aurobindo Sircle, 1947.- 416 p.