Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
You remember once you made a prophecy that Y would turn out a spiritual poet. Has it been fulfilled? Now that he has left the Ashram, what becomes of your prophecy? I am asking as a perplexed man, not as a “broken spiritual pot”.
As a spiritual poet he is not a failure, it is as a spiritual pot that he is a failure.
You told him also that you would never leave him. Well? How shall we then interpret the promises you have made to others, to me for instance?
I don't propose to leave him, any more than I have left Rene. What I propose is that he should not stay here to play the humbug any longer – he must take one course or the other with his lower nature.
From this I come to a big philosophical question: Why are there failures in sadhana?... A ready answer to the cause of these failures is – revolt of lower nature, refusal to undergo transformation. Apparently it is so, but is it the root cause? When we go to the origin of creation we find you saying that the soul or the central being came down into evolution for the sake of experience, call of the Unknown and through the depth of the abyss to establish the possibilities of the Divine in the Ignorance and Inconscience.
As you put it, this is not at all my statement of things. One cannot establish the possibilities of the Divine through the depths of the abyss. It is only by the ceasing of Ignorance and the Inconscience that the possibilities can be established. I have never said that the object of the creation is to keep up I + I1 perpetually and realise the possibilities of the Divine in that tenebrous amalgam – (its possibilities of being more and more abysmally ignorant and inconscient?).
If this theory be true, can it be said that when one fails in sadhana due to the lower nature's revolt, the soul has sanctioned it for further experiences of life?
That is only another way of putting the revolt of the lower nature. For it is not the soul, the psychic being, but the vital and the physical consciousness that refuse to go farther.
For those who are running after petty pleasures, doesn't the same answer hold true? When their soul is fully rich and satisfied with its chequered experiences, it will turn towards its ultimate purpose?
How can petty pleasures be rich? Chequered is all right. But it is not when the soul is satisfied, but when it is dissatisfied that it turns towards its ultimate purpose.
Of course when the soul no more wants the Ignorance, it will turn to the Light. Till then it can't. That is what I have always said as the reason why I reject the idea of converting the whole of mankind – because they don't want it.
It can also be said-that people really don't know that a greater Ananda, Bliss, etc. can be had, and if they are told this, they don't believe it or, even if they do, they are not ready to pay the price.
Of course they don't, but even if they did, it does not follow that they would prefer to follow it rather than their accustomed round of pain and pleasure. Many deliberately prefer that and say the other thing is too high for human nature – which is true, because you have to want to grow out of human nature before you can have the Ananda.
Many struggle towards the Ananda but cannot reach it because though the soul and even the thinking mind and the higher vital want it, the lower vital and physical want something else and are too animal and strong in them for control. [That is the case at least with some in the Ashram]2 Or the ego wants something that is not that or wants to misuse the Power for its own satisfaction.
All this about man being imprisoned in Maya, and going on swirling in its whirl, seems to me due to the soul clinging to the Ignorance for the sake of experience, if what you say about the origin of creation is true.
What has the origin of creation to do with it? We are concerned with the growth of the soul out of the Ignorance, not its plunge into it. The lower nature is the nature of the Ignorance, what we seek is to grow into the nature of the Truth. How do you make out that when the soul has looked towards the Truth and is moving towards it, a pull-back by the vital and the ego towards the Ignorance is a glorious action of the soul and not a revolt of the lower nature? I suppose you are floundering about in the confusion of the idea that “desire-soul” in the vital is the true psyche of man. If you like – but that is no part of my explanation of things; I make a clear distinction between the two, so I refuse to sanctify the revolt of the lower nature by calling it the sanction of the soul. If it is the soul that wants to fail, why is there any struggle or sorrow over the business? it would be a perfectly smooth affair. [The soul would lift its hat to me and say “Hallo! you've taught me a lot, I'm quite pleased but now I want a little more fun in the mud. Good-bye,” and I too would have to say, “O.K. I quite agree. I was glad to see you come, I am equally glad to see you go. All is divine and A.I.3 – all has the soul's sanction; so go and mud away to your soul's content.”]4
1 Ignorance and Inconscience.
2 Sri Aurobindo put the square brackets.
3 Did Sri Aurobindo mean to write Al intending “first-rate”?
4 Sri Aurobindo put the square brackets.