Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
We are a little puzzled when you give your own example to prove your arguments and defend your views, because that really proves nothing. I need not explain why: what Avatars can achieve is not possible for ordinary mortals like us to do. So when you say that you had a sudden “opening” in the appreciation and understanding of painting, or that you freed your mind from all thoughts in three days, or transformed your nature, it is very poor consolation for us. Then again, when you state that you developed something that was not originally there in your nature, can it not be said that it was already there in your divya aṅśa?
I don't know what the devil you mean. My sadhana is not a freak or a monstrosity or a miracle done outside the laws of Nature and the conditions of life and consciousness on earth. If I could do these things or if they could happen in my Yoga, it means that they can be done and that therefore these developments and transformations are possible in the terrestrial consciousness.
There are many who admit that faculties which are latent can be developed, but they maintain that things which are not there in latency cannot be made manifest. My belief is that even that can be done. The Divine is everywhere, and wherever he is, there everything exists. Still, I don't think that I could be turned into, say, an artist or a musician!
How do you know that you can't?
As for your statement, “All is possible, but all is not licit – except by a recognisable process... It is possible that an ass may be changed into an elephant, but it is not done, at least physically, because of the lack of a process”, people say that there is no point in saying this, because it is no use knowing that a thing can be done when it is not licit, and is therefore not done.1
You had said it can't be done or somebody had said it.
About your changing “cowards into heroes”, they put forward the same “latency theory”. True, it is not possible to know what is latent or what is not, but that does not refute either theory
How do they prove their theory – when they don't know what is or is not latent? In such conditions the theory can neither be proved nor refuted. To say “O, it was latent” when a thing apparently impossible is done, is a mere post factum explanation which amounts to an evasion of the difficulty.
They state very strongly that a servant of the Ashram, like Muthu, for example, cannot be changed into a Ramakrishna, or a Yogi for that matter, even by the Divine.
If he were, they would say “O, it was latent in him”.
Well, Ramakrishna himself was an ignorant, unlettered rustic according to the story.
Another point, one can't say categorically and absolutely that the Divine is omnipotent, because there are different planes from which he works. It is when he acts from the Supramental level that his Power is omnipotent.
If the Divine were not in essence omnipotent, he could not be omnipotent anywhere – whether in the supramental or anywhere else. Because he chooses to limit or determine his action by conditions, it does not make him less omnipotent. His self-limitation is itself an act of omnipotence.
The fact that P was not changed by the mental-spiritual force put on him proves that.
It does not prove it for a moment. It simply proves that the omnipotent unconditioned supramental force was not put out there – any more than, it was when Christ was put on the cross or when after healing thousands he failed to heal in a certain district (I forget the name) because people had no faith (faith being one of the conditions imposed for his working) or when Krishna after fighting eighteen battles with Jarasandha2 failed to prevail against him and had to run away from Mathura.
Why the immortal Hell should the Divine be tied down to succeed in all his operations? What if failure suits him better and serves better the ultimate purpose? What if the gentleman in question had to be given his chance as Duryodhan was given his chance when Krishna went to him as ambassador in a last effort to avoid the massacre of Kurukshetra?3 What rigid primitive notions are these about the Divine! And what about my explanation of how the Divine acts through the Avatar? It seems all to have gone into water.
By the way about the ass becoming an elephant – what I meant to say was that the only reason why it can't be done is because there is no recognizable process for it. But if a process can be discovered whether by a scientist (let us say transformation or redistribution of the said ass's atoms or molecules – or what not) or by an occultist or by a Yogi, then there is no reason why it should not be done. In other words certain conditions have been established for the game and so long as those conditions remain unchanged certain things are not done – so we say they are impossible, can't be done. If the conditions are changed, then the same things are done or at least become licit – allowable, legal, according to the so-called laws of Nature, – and then we say they can be done. The Divine also acts according to the conditions of the game. He may change them, but he has to change them first, not proceed, while maintaining the conditions to act, by a series of miracles.
1 Sri Aurobindo made the following, brief marginal comment on this remark but gave a longer answer to it at the end of the letter
2 A powerful king, ally of the Kauravas.
3 Duryodhan was the king of Kauravas who fought against the Pandavas in the great battle of Kurukshetra.