Letters of Sri Aurobindo
Volume 1. 1935
Letter ID: 1316
Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran Talukdar
April 23, 1935
I see that you have found fault with my expression “find fault”. I didn’t use it in the sense of finding fault with others. This was my meaning: Buddha, as an apostle of love, preached Ahimsa and held it as the only dharma in any circumstance of life.
The only Dharma? What becomes of the eightfold Way?
You set aside the whole doctrine and say that one can kill, massacre with absolute Ahimsa within, if called by the Divine to do so. Buddha laid stress on complete abstinence in spirit and action, from any killing. That’s why, perhaps, he is looked upon as the greatest man of compassion.
Did Buddha preach absolute Ahimsa? I thought it was a Jain teaching. What Buddha taught was compassion. And compassion – well, is it not written that Durga is full of compassion for the Asuras when she is exterminating them?
Now, even if he be an Avatar of impersonal Truth, how can a doctrine descend from a Truth-plane to an Avatar, which could be set aside by the later Avatar? The same I say about Ramakrishna.
The impersonal Truth, precisely because it is impersonal, can contain quite opposite things. There is a truth in Ahimsa, there is a truth in Destruction also. I do not teach that you should go on killing everybody every day as a spiritual dharma. I say that destruction can be done when it is part of the Divine work commanded by the Divine. Non-violence is better than violence as a rule, and still sometimes violence may be the right thing. I consider dharma as relative; unity with the Divine and action from the Divine Will, the highest way. Buddha did not aim at action in the world, but at cessation from the world-existence. For that he found the eightfold Path a necessary preparatory discipline and so proclaimed it.
My contention is that not everything they said was infallible... Of course if you hold that all their movements were guided by the Divine, I have nothing to say. Then I’ll have to infer that Buddha’s doctrine of Ahimsa was the only one needed by the then Yuga. This Yuga needs another, so the doctrine has to be changed or set aside.
It had nothing to do with the Yuga, but with the path towards liberation found by Buddha. There are many paths and all need not be one and the same in their teaching.
When yesterday you gave the example of Rama and the Golden Deer, did you suggest by it that what an Avatar does, he does absolutely consciously? If he follows a golden deer, he knows that it is a golden deer?
No, I did not suggest that. I suggested that if it is necessary to veil his consciousness so that the work may be done, the Avatar does it or rather the Divine in the Avatar does it. The other thing is also quite possible. Krishna could have killed Jarasandha as he did Kansa. Why did he not do it instead of fighting eighteen unprofitable battles, running away to Dwarka, and then getting J killed by others?
About the wrath of the sannyasis, I also meant that they didn’t mind a display of their temper while they preserved a complete inner calm. But I don’t know whether that would be called conquest of anger or a permissible or laudable thing either.
Of course it does happen like that – because at a certain stage the consciousness gets cut up into two and the outer may do things which the inner observes but does not participate in that movement. My only objection was to regarding this outward bad temper as a proof of the highest spiritual siddhi. One can also act with the Rudrabhava, but without anger, though people may mistake it for anger. That is a higher stage. There there is no disturbance even in the outer being, only a mass of very calm, but intense divine force in action.
A few Blessings – 24th.