Letters of Sri Aurobindo
Volume 1. 1935
Letter ID: 1315
Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran Talukdar
April 22, 1935
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Regarding the vital of the Paramhansa, the three signs you spoke of may not be those of the supramental, but they are indications of a divinely realised person – at least Ramakrishna used to say so. But I don’t suppose you would very much approve of strong eruptions of vital bhakti and constant emotional outbursts.
What three signs? If you refer to the four conditions (child, madman, demon, inert), it is not Ramakrishna who invented that. It is an old Sanskrit sloka बालोन्मादपिशाचजडवत्1 describing the Paramhansa or rather the various forms of Paramhansahood. The Paramhansa is in a particular grade of realisation, there are others supposed to be lower or higher.
I have no objection to them in their own place. But I must remind you that in my Yoga all vital movements must come under the control of the psychic and of the spiritual calm, knowledge and peace. If they conflict with the psychic or the spiritual control, they upset the balance and prevent the forming of the base of transformation. If unbalance is good for other paths, that is the business of those who follow them. It does not suit mine.
We read that among some advanced types of sannyasis barometric rise and fall of temper is quite the usual thing! Sometimes they don’t mind a display of their temper if they can preserve a complete inner calm. They say that only a real sannyasi can rise up in anger at one moment, and become as cool as ice the next.
I thought a Sannyasi in the ideal at any rate was supposed to become জিতক্রোধঃ জিতেন্দ্রিয়ঃ.6 That a bad temper should be a sign of fulfilment in the Brahman, is a revolutionary doctrine.
That is a particular stage in the growth in or towards the cosmic consciousness. But it is surely not the last stage of siddhi.
How is it that later Avatars often find fault with the actions and movements of their predecessors? Avatars are supposed to be infallible, they are supposed to have Knowledge directly from above!
Who finds fault with whom? I have not found fault with any Avatar. To discern what they expressed and what they did not express, is not to find fault.
What is infallible? I invite your attention again to Rama and the Golden Deer. The Avatar need have no theoretical “Knowledge” from above – he acts and thinks whatever the Divine within him intends that he should act and think for the work. Was everything that Ramakrishna said or thought infallible?
If Buddha was an Avatar, his denial of the existence of God amounts to the cutting of the very branch on which he was sitting; he makes man the sole arbiter of his destiny!
Why so? On what branch or what tree was he sitting? He affirmed practically something unknowable that was Permanent and Unmanifested. Adwaita does the same. Buddha never said he was an Avatar of a Personal God, but that he was the Buddha. It is the Hindus who made him an Avatar. If Buddha had looked upon himself as an Avatar at all, it would have been as an Avatar of the impersonal Truth.
You say Buddha achieved Illumined Mind and Ramakrishna the Intuitive. According to your explanation, Intuitive plane appears to be on a higher level than the Illumined. How is it then that Buddha’s works and manifestation of realisation greatly superseded that of Ramakrishna’s?
He had a more powerful vital than Ramakrishna, a stupendous will and an invincible mind of thought. If he had led the ordinary life, he would have been a great organiser, conqueror and creator.
If a man rises to a higher plane of consciousness, it does not necessarily follow that he will be a greater man of action or a greater creator. One may rise to spiritual planes of inspiration undreamed of by Shakespeare and yet not be as great a poetic creator as Shakespeare. “Greatness” is not the object of spiritual realisation any more than fame or success in the world – how are these things the standard of spiritual realisation?
I find that people are greatly fortunate who can approach the Mother often.
If they know how to approach her which hardly any do.
I have realised it myself, whatever you may say for the suppression of our desire for the Mother’s nearness.
If one has the desire or the claim, one brings in all sorts of demands, anger, jealousies, despairs, revolts, etc., which spoil the sadhana and do not help it. To others the nearness becomes a mixture.
If you say that there is always an interchange going on between people, surely one who often comes to Mother, will automatically take something precious from her.
A vital interchange. But there is a difference between the interchange of “people” and interchange with Mother.
And what if their condition is such that it merely passes or is spilt or spoilt by their reactions?
And this is the easiest way of receiving.
If they know how to receive.
The Mother was giving freely of her physical contact in former years. If the sadhaks had had the right reactions, do you think she would have drawn back and reduced it to a minimum? Of course if people know in what spirit to receive from her, the physical touch is a great thing – but for that the constant physical nearness is not necessary. That rather creates a pressure of the highest force which how many can meet and satisfy?
2 CWSA, volume 29; SABCL, volumes 22, 26: is a
3 SABCL, volumes 22, 26: influence
4 SABCL, volumes 22, 26: peace
5 SABCL, volume 26: or spiritual
6 jitakrodhah jitendriyah: One who has conquered anger and attained control over the senses.
[A letter: ] Sri Aurobindo; Nirodbaran Talukdar. Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo: The Complete Set [in 2 volumes].- 2nd ed., 3d inpression.- Volume 1.- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2001.- 602 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga // SABCL.- Volume 22. (≈ 28 vol. of CWSA).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.- 502 p.
Sri Aurobindo. On Himself // SABCL.- Volume 26. (≈ 35 vol. of CWSA)
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga. II // CWSA.- Volume 29. (≈ 22-24 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2013.- 522 p.