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Nirodbaran

Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

But do you really mean that till 7 a.m. your pen goes on at an aeroplanic speed? Then it must be due more to outside correspondence. I don't see many books or envelopes now on the staircase. Is the supramental freedom from these not in view?

Your not seeing unfortunately does not dematerialise them. Books are mainly for the Mother and there is sometimes a mountain, but letters galore. On some days only there is a lull and then I can do something.

A most stimulating formula I find in your letter – “within there is a soul and above there is Grace” – about which you say “This is all you know or need to know. Is that all really?

For anyone who wants the spiritual life, yes, it is enough.

Can one arrive at what is called “a state of grace” simply by sticking or simply because there is a soul within?

Yes, one can, plenty of people have done it.

But then the soul is there in everybody and Grace is above everybody. How is it that people have turned their backs on the Divine?

Because of rajasic ego, ambition, vanity – because they believed in their own efforts and not in the Grace.

I have never heard that Grace did everything. And, where it seems to do so, how do we know that somebody has not done sadhana in his past life? You can't deny it, can you?

I could point you at many instances in spiritual history – beginning with the famous Jagai Madhai. But it is no use against a brain that does not want to admit that 2+2 = 4. You can't affirm it, can you?

Simple sticking won't do. In that case our Ashram cat Bushy would have a chance.

Of course she has – of rising to a new grade of birth with all in her favour in the next life.

Because we have to make a Herculean effort in sadhana I rather hesitate to believe much in Grace. Is not Grace something that comes down unconditionally?

It does not depend on conditions – which is rather a different thing from an unconditional surrender to any and every sadhak.

Even Ramakrishna's baby cat type of sadhak has to make a decisive movement of surrender and compel the rest of the being to obedience, which, let me tell you, Sir, is the most difficult thing on earth.

I never heard that the baby cat was like that – if it were it would not be a baby cat. (It is the baby monkey trying to become a baby cat who does that.) But you have evidently so great a knowledge of spiritual things (surpassing mine and Ramakrishna's) that I can only bow my head and pass humbly on to people with less knowledge.

If anybody can do the baby cat surrender at a stroke, it is not because his “unfinished curve” in the past life has finished it in this.

Hail, Rishi, all-knower! Tell us all about our past lives.

Now, if the soul instead of sleeping has to aspire etc. to call down its Lord the Grace, where do you see that aspiration in me? If you build my spiritual castle on those one or two minutes' brief visitations of Ananda, and that too once or twice only, excluding the moments of darshan of your great self, which also have been sometimes marred in these three years – and if you build my poetic mansion on little trickles, then I can only say – well, what shall I say?

Better say nothing. It will sound less foolish.

You have often inveighed against my asking you not to use yourself as an argument against the Divine. But what is the history of your sadhana in your own words – a Herculean practice of Pranayam, concentration and what not and then after years and years of waiting the Grace of Brahman. Still you are pañcamukha1 in praise of Grace!

What a wooden head! What is the use of saying things if you deliberately misinterpret what I write? I said clearly that the pranayam brought me nothing of any kind of spiritual realisation. I had stopped it long before. The Brahman experience came when I was groping for a way, doing no sadhana at all, making no effort because I didn't know what effort to make, all having failed. Then in three days I got an experience which most Yogis get only at the end of a long Yoga, got it without wanting or trying for it, got it to the surprise of Lele who was trying to get me something quite different. But I don't suppose you are able to understand – so I say no more. I can only look mournfully at your ununderstanding pate.

Calling for ropes and waiting till they come is all right, but who knows what may happen meanwhile. Won't the expeditionist expire in the jungles, in trying to scale the Himalayas?

Who asks him to explore the jungles (of his own logic, I suppose) or climb the Himalayas? What has this to do with what I said? I did not tell you to make Herculean efforts.

I remember instances where people have failed in their sadhana and gone away. The Divine couldn't do much because he says he doesn't propose to do anything against the will of the individual, which means aspiration, rejection, surrender, before the Grace comes down.

It can mean also waiting on the Grace of the Divine! The will of the individual in this respect does not mean anything like that. If the will of the individual is towards perdition, if his ego becomes hostile to the Divine, then the Divine is not bound to show him a Grace he does not want at all and kicks at.

It seems to me that behind any difficult endeavour, there is the seeking for Ananda which acts as the motive-power, isn't it so?

Not that I know of!

Take the case of X. My God, to think that after all those Napoleonic efforts in poetry, and having succeeded, one is still driven to madness because, after all, one has obtained nothing spiritually in spite of aspiration, meditation, etc. – this is blood-curdling and at once smashes your theory of Karmayoga through poetry.

Napoleonic rubbish! He was the worst poet in the world before he came here and here immediately as soon as I put my force he began writing beautiful poems. Yet it was by his Napoleonic efforts that he did it? Imbecility, thy name is ego.

I was not putting any Karmayoga theory – I was simply mocking at your absurd idea that it was by your own mighty efforts that you had succeeded in writing poetry which any good judge (you are not one) would call genuine poetry.

I would not like to invite the same inevitable fate on my weak bony shoulders. So in every way is there room for Hallelujah or for Jeremiad.

All right, sir, Jeremy away.

To think that five or six years more of barren desert stretch between me and the Divine Grace, coagulates my blood!

Coagulate! coagulate! coagulate!

Please give an answer to these points – if no time tonight, tomorrow.

Non, monsieur, – j'ai d'autres chats fouetter. I have other cats to whip – I can't go on whipping one cat all the time. A few lashes in the margin are all I can spare for you just now.

There are three main possibilities for the sadhak –

1. To wait on the Grace and rely on the Divine.

2. To do everything himself like the full Adwaitin and the Buddhist.

3. To take the middle path, go forward by aspiration and rejection etc. helped by the Force. The first, it appears, is too easy for you to do it, the second is too difficult for you to do, the third being easy in parts and difficult in parts is as impossible for you to do it. Right? Amen!!!

K's X-ray finding reveals that it is the right side2 that is affected – the lesion has just started...

Right side where? lung? T.B.?

But why is she thrust on us again? She was evidently making good progress with R.

Because she insisted on being treated by Becharlal, not by R.

N is passing excessive phosphate. Shall we make a microscopic exam?

Do you want to microscope him out of existence? The loss of phosphates, I suppose, explains his weakness.

24.01.1936

 

1 Literally “five mouths”, meaning full of praise.

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2 Sri Aurobindo underlined “right side”.

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1936 01 24 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran