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Sri Aurobindo

Letters of Sri Aurobindo

Volume 2. 1934 — 1935

Letter ID: 556

Sri Aurobindo — Roy, Dilip Kumar

February 1935 (?)

I did not at all mean that Krishnaprem himself was used by the hostile forces. These forces can use anything for their purpose by combining it with others to make part of a total suggestion. They can use what is in itself quite harmless or true for a contrary purpose – they can use something the Mother or myself do or say to disturb somebody by putting a certain explanation or interpretation upon it – they can use a spiritual truth like that of surrender to persuade somebody to surrender to themselves as happened in the case of Nalinbehari and others and so on ad infinitum. Krishnaprem’s criticism would have been nothing in itself – it was only a part of a host of small details which put together amounted to a radical questioning or denial of the whole bases of my work in this field. The suggestion was a sort of climax, “Well, here is a mystic, a man of clear vision also, and he finds in spite of his sympathy that the work you find so good is inferior and thin, the work of an Indian trying to write English.” As for his praise of your poetry or music it can be intellectually explained away as the result of a greater sympathy with the substance making him blind to the defects of the poetic form and manner. Others, it would be said, who are genuine literary critics see clearer as to all these “Ashram” poets – and here they would begin to cite all the hostile criticisms or non-appreciation of Anāmi and my own poetry and Arjava’s. That is the way they make a case – and very often a pretty strong case too.

The hostile forces exist and have been known to yogic experience ever since the days of the Veda and Zoroaster in Asia (and the mysteries of Egypt and Chaldea and the Cabbala) and in Europe also from old times. These things, of course, cannot be felt or known so long as one lives in the ordinary mind and its ideas and perceptions; for there, there are only two categories of influences recognisable, the ideas and feelings and actions of oneself and others and the play of environment and physical forces. But once one begins to get the inner view of things, it is different. One begins to experience that all is an action of forces, forces of Prakriti psychological as well as physical, which play upon our nature – and these are conscious forces or are supported by a consciousness or consciousnesses behind. One is in the midst of a big universal working and it is impossible any longer to explain everything as the result of one’s own sole and independent personality. You yourself have at one time written that your crises of despair etc. came upon you as if thrown on you and worked themselves out without your being able to determine or put an end to them. That means an action of universal forces and not merely an independent action of your own personality, though it is something in your nature of which they make use. But you are not conscious, and others also, of this intervention and pressure at its source for the reason I state. Those in the Ashram who have developed the inner view of things on the vital plane1 have plenty of experience of the hostile forces. However, you need not personally concern yourself with them so long as they remain incognito.

Yes, I gave force to Nishikanta, but as I wrote I did not include him because he is new and emergent.

I am glad of your resolution – it is absolutely essential to keep it so that you may win through this long established difficulty and barrier.


1 (Sri Aurobindo’s note:) One may have the experiences on the mental plane without this knowledge coming – for there Mind and Idea predominate and one does not feel the play of Forces – it is only in the vital that that becomes clear. In the mind plane they manifest at most as mental suggestions and not as concrete Powers. Also, if one looks at things with the Mind only (even though it be the inner Mind), one may see the subtle play of Nature-forces but without recognising the conscious intention which we call hostile.