Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
Your letter to D has done us a lot of good, for you have cited the example of workers there. We people need such illustrations but not of your illustrious person or the Mother's.
You people are funny people!
I have resorted to prayer. Well, if a prayer means a call to the Above, why doesn't the Above have the kindness to respond?
But just answer! If it responded to everybody in all circumstances, there would by this time be 100 million poets writing away for all they were worth, let us say 1000 pages of poetry a day each and publishing them. Wouldn't it be a disaster? Wouldn't such kindness be a cruelty to all the rest of the creation?
Throughout the history of my writing, you know that the Above has been stingily charitable to me so that all my works – very few though – have been corroded with the marks of my labour and hence fallen short of poetic excellence...
Not correct – they look quite innocent as if you had written them off with ease.
My hard labour and effort deprive me of the joy of creation and discourage me with a dread of the work. You say this is because I am an “efforter” and a “hower”. All very well, Sir, but have you shown me the Grand Trunk Road of noneffort – not to speak of leading the way?
There are two ways of arriving at the Grand Trunk Road. One is to climb and struggle and effortise, (like the pilgrim who traverses India prostrating and measuring the way with his body, – that's the way of effort). One day you suddenly find yourself on the G.T.R. when you least expect it. The other is to quiet the mind to such a point that a greater Mind of mind can speak through it. (I am not here talking of the supramental). You will do neither. Your mind refuses to be quiet – your vital kicks at the necessity of effort. One too active, the other too lazy. How can I show you the G.T.R. when you refuse either way of reaching it?
Or would you say that a beginner can't, at a leap, settle on the top?
Of course not!
But even a beginner should be lured by more glimpses than has been done in my case.
System of lollipops? You won't travel to London unless you are given frequent glimpses of London before even you reach Bombay? Otherwise you will say “Oh what a bother” and give up?
Look at D – you yourself admitted1 that he had a very easy flow as soon as he started writing.
Never in my life I admitted that.
Look at N K. Do you know he writes 200-300 lines a day!
Not at all if you refer to his poetry – As soon as he started writing here, yes. That is because he caught instanter the tail of the Horse – or the Force. You seem to read what I write in a queer way and put on it very strange [constructions].
I wonder if it is possible to make prodigious and unusual poets like N K.
Was N K a prodigious and unusual poet before he came here? You seem to be so obsessed by the present development that you assume it was always there and he did it all of himself from the beginning.
Lastly about your inspiration. Amal and I have been wondering why you should have to write and rewrite your poetry – for instance, Savitri ten or twelve times. You will say the rewriting is also done by inspiration. True, but why rewrite at all?
That is very simple. I used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began with it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote from that level. Moreover I was particular – if part seemed to me to come from any lower level, I was not satisfied to leave it because it was good poetry. All had to be as far as possible of the same mint. In fact, Savitri has not been regarded by me as a poem to be written and finished, but as a field of experimentation to see how far poetry could be written from one's own Yogic consciousness and how that could be made creative. I did not rewrite Rose of God or the sonnets except for two or three verbal alterations made at the moment.
If X could receive his inspiration without any necessity for rewriting, why not you?
So could I if I wrote every day and had nothing else to do and did not care what the level of inspiration was so long as I produced something exciting.
Fault in the instrument, obstruction between the instrument and the plane of inspiration..?
The only obstruction is that I have no time to put myself constantly into the poetic creative posture and if I write at all have to get out something in the intervals of quite another concentration.
With your silence, consciousness, overmental, partly supramental, etc., etc., it should be possible to draw from the highest plane, at the slightest pull, and it should tumble down, Sir, but it doesn't. Why not? We wonder and wonder! Could you send Alice to Wonderland and ask her to discover and divulge the secret to us – not in hints, but at length?
The highest planes are not so accommodating as all that. If they were so, why should it be so difficult to bring down and organise the supermind in the physical consciousness? What happy-golucky fancy-web-spinning ignoramuses you all are. You speak of silence, consciousness, overmental, supramental, etc. as if they were so many electric buttons you have only to press and there you are. It may be one day but meanwhile I have to discover everything about the working of all possible modes of electricity, all the laws, possibilities, perils, etc., construct roads of connection and communication, make the whole far-wiring system, try to find out how it can be made foolproof and all that in the course of a single lifetime. And I have to do it while my blessed disciples are firing off their gay or gloomy a priori reasonings at me from a position of entire irresponsibility and expecting me to divulge everything to them not in hints but at length. Lord God in omnibus!
1 Sri Aurobindo underlined “you yourself admitted”.