LETTERS ON YOGA
Volume 3. Part Four
4. Transformation of the Physical
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
The whole principle of this yoga is to give oneself entirely to the Divine alone and to nobody and nothing else, and to bring down into ourselves by union with the Divine Mother-Power all the transcendent light, force, wideness, peace, purity, truth-consciousness and Ananda of the supramental Divine. In this yoga, therefore, there can be no place for vital relations or interchanges with others; any such relation or interchange immediately ties down the soul to the lower consciousness and its lower nature, prevents the true and full union with the Divine and hampers both the ascent to the supramental Truth-consciousness and the descent of the supramental Ishwari Shakti. Still worse would it be if this interchange took the form of a sexual relation or a sexual enjoyment, even if kept free from any outward act; therefore these things are absolutely forbidden in the sadhana. It goes without saying that any physical act of the kind is not allowed; but also any subtler form is ruled out. It is only after becoming one with the supramental Divine that we can find our true spiritual relations with others in the Divine; in that higher unity this kind of gross lower vital movement can have no place.
To master the sex-impulse, to become so much master of the sex-centre that the sexual energy would be drawn upwards, not thrown outwards and wasted it is so indeed that the force in the seed can be turned into a primal physical energy supporting all the others, retas into ojas. But no error can be more perilous than to accept the immixture of the sexual desire and some kind of subtle satisfaction of it and look on this as a part of the sadhana. It would be the most effective way to head straight towards spiritual downfall and throw into the atmosphere forces that would block the supramental descent, bringing instead the descent of adverse vital powers to disseminate disturbance and disaster. This deviation must be absolutely thrown away, should it try to occur and expunged from the consciousness, if the Truth is to be brought down and the work is to be done.
It is an error too to imagine that, although the physical sexual action is to be abandoned, yet some inward reproduction of it is part of the transformation of the sex-centre. The action of the animal sex-energy in Nature is a device for a particular purpose in the economy of the material creation in the Ignorance. But the vital excitement that accompanies it makes the most favourable opportunity and vibration in the atmosphere for the inrush of those very vital forces and beings whose whole business is to prevent the descent of the supramental Light. The pleasure attached to it is a degradation and not a true form of the divine Ananda. The true divine Ananda in the physical has a different quality and movement and substance; self-existent in its essence, its manifestation is dependent only on an inner union with the Divine. You have spoken of Divine Love; but Divine Love, when it touches the physical, does not awaken the gross lower vital propensities; indulgence of them would only repel it and make it withdraw again to the heights from which it is already difficult enough to draw it down into the coarseness of the material creation which it alone can transform. Seek the Divine Love through the only gate through which it will consent to enter, the gate of the psychic being, and cast away the lower vital error.
The transformation of the sex-centre and its energy is needed for the physical siddhi; for this is the support in the body of all the mental, vital and physical forces of the nature. It has to be changed into a mass and a movement of intimate Light, creative Power, pure divine Ananda. It is only the bringing down of the supramental Light, Power and Bliss into the centre that can change it. As to the working afterwards, it is the supramental Truth and the creative vision and will of the Divine Mother that will determine it. But it will be a working of the conscious Truth, not of the Darkness and Ignorance to which sexual desire and enjoyment belong; it will be a power of preservation and free desireless radiation of the life-forces and not of their throwing out and waste. Avoid the imagination that the supramental life will be only a heightened satisfaction of the desires of the vital and the body; nothing can be a greater obstacle to the Truth in its descent than this hope of glorification of the animal in the human nature. Mind wants the supramental state to be a confirmation of its own cherished ideas and preconceptions; the vital wants it to be a glorification of its own desires; the physical wants it to be a rich prolongation of its own comforts and pleasures and habits. If it were to be that, it would be only an exaggerated and highly magnified consummation of the animal and the human nature, not a transition from the human into the Divine.
It is dangerous to think of giving up all barrier of discrimination and defence against what is trying to descend upon you. Have you thought what this would mean if what is descending is something not in consonance with the divine Truth, perhaps even adverse? An adverse Power would ask no better condition for getting control over the seeker. It is only the Mother's force and the divine Truth that one should admit without barriers. And even there one must keep the power of discernment in order to detect anything false that comes masquerading as the Mother's force and the divine Truth, and keep too the power of rejection that will throw away all mixture.
Keep faith in your spiritual destiny, draw back from error and open more the psychic being to the direct guidance of the Mother's light and power. If the central will is sincere, each recognition of a mistake can become a stepping-stone to a truer movement and a higher progress.
It is true that the sex-centre and its reactions can be transformed and that an Ananda from above can come down to replace the animal sex-reaction. The sex-impulse is a degradation of this Ananda. But to receive this Ananda before the physical (including the physical vital) consciousness is transformed, can be dangerous; for other and lower things can take advantage and mix in it and that would disturb the whole being and might lead into a wrong road by the impression that these lower things are part of the sadhana and sanctioned from above or simply by the lower elements overpowering the true experience. In the last case the Ananda would cease and the sex-centre be possessed by the lower reactions.
I have stated very briefly in my previous letter my position with regard to the sex-impulse and yoga. I may add here that my conclusion is not founded on any mental opinion or preconceived moral idea, but on probative facts and on observation and experience. I do not deny that so long as one allows a sort of separation between inner experience and outer consciousness, the latter being left as an inferior activity controlled but not transformed, it is quite possible to have spiritual experiences and make progress without any entire cessation of the sex-activity. The mind separates itself from the outer vital (life-parts) and the physical consciousness and lives its own inner life. But only a few can really do this with any completeness and the moment one's experiences extend to the life-plane and the physical, sex can no longer be treated in this way. It can become at any moment a disturbing, upsetting and deforming force. I have observed that to an equal extent with ego (pride, vanity, ambition) and rajasic greeds and desires it is one of the main causes of the spiritual casualties that have taken place in sadhana. The attempt to treat it by detachment without complete excision breaks down; the attempt to sublimate it, favoured by many modern mystics in Europe, is a most rash and perilous experiment. For it is when one mixes up sex and spirituality that there is the greatest havoc. Even the attempt to sublimate it by turning it towards the Divine as in the Vaishnava madhura bhāva carries in it a serious danger, as the results of a wrong turn or use in this method so often show. At any rate in this yoga which seeks not only the essential experience of the Divine but a transformation of the whole being and nature, I have found it an absolute necessity of the sadhana to aim at a complete mastery over the sex-force; otherwise the vital consciousness remains a turbid mixture, the turbidity affecting the purity of the spiritualised mind and seriously hindering the upward turn of the forces of the body. This yoga demands a full ascension of the whole lower or ordinary consciousness to join the spiritual above it and a full descent of the spiritual (eventually of the supramental) into the mind, life and body to transform it. The total ascent is impossible so long as sex-desire blocks the way; the descent is dangerous so long as sex-desire is powerful in the vital. For at any moment an unexcised or latent sex-desire may be the cause of a mixture which throws back the true descent and uses the energy acquired for other purposes or turns all the action of the consciousness towards wrong experience, turbid and delusive. One must, therefore, clear this obstacle out of the way; otherwise there is either no safety or no free movement towards finality in the sadhana.
The contrary opinion of which you speak may be due to the idea that sex is a natural part of the human vital-physical whole, a necessity like food and sleep, and that its total inhibition may lead to unbalancing and to serious disorders. It is a fact that sex suppressed in outward action but indulged in other ways may lead to disorders of the system and brain troubles. That is the root of the medical theory which discourages sexual abstinence. But I have observed that these things happen only when there is either secret indulgence of a perverse kind replacing the normal sexual activity or else an indulgence of it in a kind of subtle vital way by imagination or by an invisible vital interchange of an occult kind, I do not think harm ever occurs when there is a true spiritual effort at mastery and abstinence. It is now held by many medical men in Europe that sexual abstinence, if it is genuine, is beneficial; for the element in the retas which serves the sexual act is then changed into its other element which feeds the energies of the system, mental, vital and physical and that justifies the Indian idea of Brahmacharya, the transformation of retas into ojas and the raising of its energies upward so that they change into a spiritual force.
As for the method of mastery, it cannot be done by physical abstinence alone it proceeds by a process of combined detachment and rejection. The consciousness stands back from the sex-impulse, feels it as not its own, as something alien thrown on it by Nature-force to which it refuses assent or identification each time a certain movement of rejection throws it more and more outward. The mind remains unaffected; after a time the vital being which is the chief support withdraws from it in the same way, finally the physical consciousness no longer supports it. This process continues until even the subconscient can no longer rouse it up in dream and no further movement comes from the outer Nature-force to rekindle this lower fire. This is the course when the sex-propensity sticks obstinately; but there are some who can eliminate it decisively by a swift radical dropping away from the nature. That, however, is more rare.
It has to be said that the total elimination of the sex-impulse is one of the most difficult things in sadhana and one must be prepared for it to take time. But its total disappearance has been achieved and a practical liberation crossed only by occasional dream-movements from the subconscient is fairly common.
Sex (occult) stands on a fair level of equality with ambition etc. from the point of view of danger, only its action is usually less ostensible i.e. the Hostiles don't put it forward so openly as a thing to be followed after in the spiritual life.
I have not said that the sex-impulse has not been mastered in other yogas. I have said that it is difficult to be free from it entirely and that the attempt at sublimation as in the Vaishnava sadhana has its dangers. That is evidenced by all one knows of what has frequently and even largely happened among the Vaishnavas. Transcendence and transformation are different matters. There are three kinds or stages of transformation contemplated in this sadhana, the psychic transformation, the spiritual and the supramental. The first two have been done in their own way in other yogas; the last is a new endeavour. A transformation sufficient for spiritual realisation is attainable by the two former; a transformation sufficient for the divinisation of human life is, in my view, not possible except by a supramental change.
What has this yoga got to do with sex and sex-contact? I have told you repeatedly that sex has to be got rid of and overcome before there can be siddhi in this yoga.
Conversion is one thing and acceptance of the present forms in ordinary human nature is another. The reason given for indulging the sex-action is not at all imperative. It is only a minority that is called to the strict yogic life and there will be always plenty of people who will continue the race. Certainly, the yogi has no contempt or aversion for human nature; he understands it and the place given to each of its activities with a clear and calm regard. Also, if an action can be done with self-control without desire under the direction of a higher consciousness, that is the better way and it can sometimes be followed for the fulfilment of the divine will in things that would not otherwise be undertaken by the yogi, such as war and the destruction which accompanies war. But a too light resort to such a rule might easily be converted into a pretext for indulging the ordinary human nature.
The Mother has already told you the truth about this idea. The idea that by fully indulging the sex-hunger it will be finished and disappear for ever is a deceptive pretence held out by the vital to the mind in order to get a sanction for its desire; it has no other raison d'être or truth or justification. If an occasional indulgence keeps the sex-desire simmering, a full indulgence would only sink you in its mire. This hunger like other hungers does not cease by temporary satiation; it revives itself after a temporary abeyance and wants again indulgence. Neither sops nor gorgings are the right treatment for it. It can only go by a radical psychic rejection or a full spiritual opening with the increasing descent of a consciousness that does not want it and has the truer Ananda.
It is not a question of fear it is a question of choosing between the Divine Peace and Ananda and the degraded pleasure of sex, between the Divine and the attraction of women. Food has to be taken to support the body but sex-satisfaction is not a necessity. Even for the rasa of food it can only be harmonised with the spiritual condition if all greed of food and desire of the palate disappears. Intellectual or aesthetic delight can also be an obstacle to the spiritual perfection if there is attachment to it, although it is much nearer to the spiritual than a gross untransformed bodily appetite; in fact in order to become part of the spiritual consciousness the intellectual and aesthetic delight has also to change and become something higher. But all things that have a rasa cannot be kept. There is a rasa in hurting and killing others, the sadistic delight, there is a rasa in torturing oneself, the masochistic delight modern psychology is full of these two. Merely having a rasa is not a sufficient reason for keeping things as part of the spiritual life.
There is no delight in the sex-affair, it is necessarily and can only be a passing excitement and pleasure which finally wears itself out with the wearing out of the body.
Yes, it [the sex-atmosphere] has become rampant everywhere [in the modern world], especially as men no longer believe in the old moral restraints and nothing else has been substituted.
The idea of the new European mystics like Lawrence and Middleton Murry etc. is that the indulgence of sex is the appointed way to find the Overself or the Under Self, for that is what it really seems to be! X of course knows better. But if the personal Overself is all that is wanted and not the Divine, then sex and many other things are permissible. One has only to realise that one is not the body, not the life, not the mind, but the Overself and then do whatever the Overself tells you to do.
I spoke of the personal Overself meaning the realisation of something in us (the Purusha) that is not the Prakriti, not the movements of mind, vital or physical, but something that is the Thinker, etc. This Purusha can give assent to any movement of nature or withhold it or it can direct the Prakriti what to do or not to do. It can allow it to indulge sex or withhold indulgence. It is usually the mental Purusha (Manomaya Purusha) that one thus realises, but there is also the Pranamaya or vital Purusha. By the word Overself they probably mean this Purusha they take it as a sort of personal Atman.
Oneness with all would then mean satisfying the sex instinct with all that would be a rather startling siddhānta, though there is something like it in the practice of Tantra of the left hand. But the left hand Tantriks are more logical than you for why should oneness, if it is to justify sex-expression, support only the lighter and not the cruder forms of love-expression? But is sex really based on love or sex-love based on sex-instinct? and is sex-instinct an expression of the spiritual feeling of the One in all? Is it not really based on duality, except when it simply seeks satisfaction and pleasure where there is no question of love at all? Is one attracted to a woman by the sense that she is oneself or by the fact that she is somebody else attracting one by some charm or beauty which one wants to enjoy or possess or simply by the fact of the difference from oneself, the fact of her being a female and not a male so that the sex-instinct can find a full field there?
The sex-impulse is certainly the greatest force in the vital plane; if it can be sublimated and turned upwards, ojas is created which is a great help to the attainment of higher consciousness. But mere restraint is not sufficient.
The sex-energy utilised by Nature for the purpose of reproduction is in its real nature a fundamental energy of Life. It can be used not for the heightening but for a certain intensification of the vital-emotional life; it can be controlled and diverted from the sex-purpose and used for aesthetic and artistic or other creation and productiveness or preserved for heightening of the intellectual or other energies. Entirely controlled it can be turned into a force of spiritual energy also. This was well known in ancient India and was described as the conversion of retas into ojas by Brahmacharya. Sex-energy misused turns to disorder and disintegration of the life-energy and its powers.
Of course, it [the sex-impulse] is perfectly natural and all men have it. Nature has put it as part of her functioning for the purpose of procreation, so that the race may continue. In the animals it is used for that purpose, but men have departed from Nature and use it for pleasure mainly so it has taken hold of them and harasses them at all times.
Naturally, you have to conquer the sex-impulse, but it cannot be done entirely all at once; it needs a patient persistence and a firm resolve not to indulge it either physically or mentally. Even when this has been done and there is no thought or desire, the mechanical emission can continue in sleep, but if the mind is kept free that will eventually disappear.
The sexual sensations do not become a principle of the physical consciousness they are there in the physical nature already wherever there is conscious life, the sex-force is there. It is physical Nature's means of reproduction and it is there for that purpose.
The terrestrial sex-movement is a utilisation by Nature of the fundamental physical energy for purposes of procreation. The thrill of which the poets speak, which is accompanied by a very gross excitement, is the lure by which she makes the vital consent to this otherwise unpleasing process; there are numbers who experience a recoil of disgust after the act and repulsion from the partner in it because of the disgust, though they return to it when the disgust has worn off for the sake of this lure.
The sex-energy itself is a great power with two components in its physical basis, one meant for procreation and the process necessary for it, the other for feeding the general energies of the body, mind and vital, also of the spiritual energies of the body. The old yogis call these two components retas and ojas. The European scientists generally pooh-poohed the idea, but now they are beginning to discover the same fact for themselves. As for the thrill, the poets make so much of it is simply a very gross distortion and degradation of the physical Ananda which by the yoga can establish itself in the body, but this it cannot do so long as there is the sex-deviation.
In the Letters on Yoga here were placed two
fragments from one letter (as if they were different letters)
03.12.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Naik and I had an interesting discussion about the prognosis of sex-glands in consequence of Yogic abstinence, or any abstinence, for that matter. Naik said that since sex has no place here, there is a possibility of the sex-glands undergoing, atrophic degeneration. I could not agree with him and told him that had it been the case, people who practised Brahmacharya, would lose all their virility, energy, radiance, etc. Don't the Yogis say that ojas and tejas can only be produced by such abstinence?
That is correct. The whole theory of brahmacharya is based upon that by the Yogis. If it were not so, there would be no need of brahmacharya for producing tejas and ojas.
Naik argued that what is seen as vigour, energy, etc., may be due to the spiritual force descending and flooding the system, and have nothing to do with the sex-gland secretions at all.
It is not a question of vigour and energy per se, but of the physical support – in that physical support the ojas produced by brahmacharya counts greatly. The transformation of retas into ojas is a transformation of physical substance into a physical (necessarily producing also a vital physical) energy. The spiritual energy by itself can only drive the body, like the vital and mental, but in driving it it would exhaust it if it had not a physical support – (I speak of course of the ordinary spiritual energy, not of the supramental to be which will have not only to transmute retas into ojas but ojas into something still more sublimated.)
How is it then that scientists attach no value to sex energy except its use for procreation? The current theory is that sex is a physiological necessity. If the sex-glands run the risk of an atrophy due to abstinence, you see how dangerous it would be medically. What does your spiritual science say on the matter?
You mean the doctors. But even all doctors do not agree on that; there are many (I have read their opinions) who say that sex-satisfaction is not an absolute necessity and sex-abstinence can be physically very beneficial and is so – of course under proper conditions.
As for scientists, the product of the sex-glands is considered by them (at least so I have read) as a great support and feeder of the general energies. It has even been considered that sex-force has a great part to play in the production of poetry, art etc. and in the action of genius generally. Finally, it is a doctor who has discovered that the sex-fluid consists of two parts, one meant for sex-purposes, the other as a basis of general energy, and if the sex-action is not indulged the first element tends to be turned into the second, (retas into ojas, as the Yogis had already discovered). Theories? So are the statements or inferences of the opposite side – one theory is as good as another. Anyhow I don't think that the atrophy of the sex-glands by abstinence can be supported by general experience. N's contention is however logical if we take not individual results but the course of evolution and suppose that this evolution will follow the line of the old one, for these useless organs are supposed to disappear or deteriorate. But will the supramental evolution follow the same course as the old one or develop new adaptations of its own making – that is the uncertain element.
1. What about P's eyes? She complains that they only repeat ancient history – cure and recure and you seem to be quite callous about her hard hard case. What?
2. What about N? He writes that he has realised he was having fever all the time, though it did not occur to him that it was fever. I hope this is not the result of the tuberculous suggestion of Manilal.
3. What happened about A? He was to have another urine examination by Becharlal. Did it take place?
Dr. Valle suggests a radiogram to be taken of S's stomach and intestine.
It might be better. But I understand it can't be properly done here. Must be done at Madras or Calcutta.
04.12.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Prasanna is better in every respect. But how am I to impress upon her that trachoma is a nasty business, that it takes a long time to cure completely?
She does not care about all that. Her point of view is that the doctor is there to cure her and why doesn't he do it? Very careless and callous of him. It is something like the attitude of many to us and our Yogic force.
By her own confession, you will see that there is at least some improvement, isn't it something?
I intend to try a new medicine on Prasanna's eyes, brushing the lids with sodium chlorate powder which is supposed to give good results. But it is rather painful. She has already become aprasanna with our callousness and futile treatment. Who knows what she will be if we give her excruciating pain with sodium chl. and make her from bad to worse?
Good Lord! she will make a worse noise than Hercules in the shirt of Nessus!
If you give us courage, we may venture.
Not possible. Prasanna will become more than aprasanna, she will become abasanna and do dharma.1 Won't do.
I knew nothing about N's fever. He swept in today and said he was feverish. Temperature was normal, his feeling can't be due to T.B. suggestion, for he doesn't know what T.B. is.
He is writing very aghast notes and demanding an explanation from me of his perilous condition – so I thought it better to refer the matter to the medical authorities.
A's urine was examined. The specific gravity was rather high and we advised him to take less sugar, after that we didn't enquire and he didn't complain.
He does not complain – I simply wanted to know what had happened.
About S's stomach – if there is no radiogram, then we can make at least a screen examination.
It might be done – only R is in charge. He might object to an allopathic screen pushing into the stomach and upsetting his homeopathic effects, what?
To take up our yesterday's discussion – I think Vivekananda said that by observance of brahmacharya, one acquires a prodigious memory. He himself proved it by reproducing anything he was asked from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, though he just took some glances at it. But it was said that only Vivekananda and Anandas like him can do the feat. We have heard about your doing such feats of memory also, on a miniature scale.
But everybody knows that you are a much greater “Ananda”, Sir! So perhaps possible.
Possible, of course.
What I wanted to say however is that poets and artists, as a class, are rather loose and lavish in their sex economy. If they indulge much in sex, how can their sex-force produce great things?
You have not understood. I was answering the statement that scientists don't attach any value to sex-gland product and think it is only of use for an external purpose. Many scientists on the contrary consider it a base of productive energy; among other things it plays a part in artistic and poetic production. Not that artists and poets are anchorites and brahmacharis, but that they have a powerful sex-gland activity, part of which goes to creative and part to (effectual or ineffectual) procreative action. On the latest theory and Yoga theory, the procreative part would be retas, the creative part the basis of ojas. Now supposing the artist or poet to conserve his retas and turn it into ojas, the result would be an increased power of creative productivity. Q.E.D., sir! Logic, sir!
I suppose Valmiki, Vyasa and Kalidasa were complete abstainers, though there is doubt about the last two.
Excuse me, there are no doubts about Kalidasa. Very much to the contrary.
The idea about impotence is rather irrational impotence comes from over-indulgence or wrong indulgence (certain perverse habits); it does not come from self-control. Self-control means only a diversion to other powers, because the controlled sex-power becomes a force for the life-energies, the powers of the mind and the more and more potent workings of the spiritual consciousness.
In most men the sexual is the strongest of all the impulses of Nature.
The sexual impulse is its own reason to itself it acts for its own satisfaction and does not ask for any reason, for it is instinctive and irrational.
[Why the illusion of sex does not disappear:] Too many roots in the human vital. Sex has a terrible tenacity. Besides, universal physical nature has such need of it that even when man pushes it away, she throws it upon him as long as possible.
All movements are in the mass movements of Nature's cosmic forces, they are movements of universal Nature. The individual receives something of them, a wave or pressure of some cosmic force, and is driven by it; he thinks it is his own, generated in himself separately, but it is not so, it is part of a general movement which works just in the same way in others. Sex, for instance, is a movement of general Nature seeking for its play and it uses this or that one a man vitally or physically in love as it is called with a woman is simply repeating and satisfying the world-movement of sex; if it had not been that woman, it would have been another; he is simply an instrument in Nature's machinery, it is not an independent movement. So it is with anger and other Nature-motives.
Naturally, the sex-movement is a force in itself, impersonal and not dependent on any particular object. It fastens on one or another only to give itself body and a field of enjoyment. When it is checked in the vital interchange, it tends to lose its vital character and attacks through its most physical and elemental movement. It is only when it is thrown out from the vital physical and most physical that it is conquered.
The sex exists for its own satisfaction and this or that person is only an excuse or occasion for its action or a channel for awakening its activity. It is from within, by the peace and purity from above coming into that part and holding it that it must disappear.
It [the desire to attract others by physical charms] is the usual vanity of the lower vital it is very common. Any man can have an attraction for any woman, and vice versa, when the sex-forces are active, but that attraction is not his, it is the pull of the sex-force.
The sex-pull is that of a general force which uses the individual for its purpose and it takes advantage of any proximity of the other one.... The security lies in oneself, in immediate detachment (standing apart, not accepting as one's own) and rejecting it.
It is of course the universal sex-force that acts, but certain people are more full of it than others, have the sex-appeal as they now say in Europe. This sex-appeal is exercised especially by women even without any conscious intention of putting it on a particular person. Consciously they may turn it on a particular person, but it may exercise itself on many others whom they do not wish particularly to capture. All women have not the sex-appeal, but some force of sex-pull there is in most. There is of course a similar pull in men for women.
A smile or any movement, appearance or action of the woman can be the starting-point for these vibrations. I don't suppose it is anything inherent in the smile itself, but all these things have been the habitual means by which sex has been excited in men (hāvabhāva) and the woman uses them, often unconsciously and by mere habit when coming into contact with man whether she has or has not any intention of pleasing or moving the man, it still comes up as an instinctive movement. X is of the type of woman who has this instinctive movement to please the male. But even when the woman smiles quite casually and without even the habitual instinctive movement, still there may be the vibration on the man's side owing to the habit of response in him to feminine attraction. These things are almost mechanical in their starting. As I wrote before it is the automatic answer of the physical or vital mind (imagination etc.) that prolongs it and makes it effective. Otherwise the vibrations would die away after a time.
She may not have the sex-feeling towards you, but there is a certain kind of vital push, throwing out of tentacles I don't know exactly how to express it the secret object of which in Nature is to attract the man, to draw his attention and fix it on the woman, hook and draw him in a less or greater degree. The intention may not be at all conscious in the woman's mind, that is to say, it may not be clear or even present to her mind, it may be merely instinctive or subconscious. There need be no physical sexual intention, only the vital in spontaneous movement. All women of a strongly vital temperament (and X is that) have it some more, some less. There may be no specific sex-impulse in it, but it will still raise the sex-idea in the man. X naturally has no psychological knowledge and these things are too subtle for her to perceive or realise. She may easily think she is acting in a perfectly innocent and natural way and not at all know this activity of the Nature push in her.
Dress has always been used by woman as an aid to her sex-appeal as it is now called and man has always been susceptible to it; women also often find dress in man a cause of attraction (e.g. soldier's uniform). There are also particular tastes in dress that a sari of a particular colour should attract is quite normal. The attraction works on the sense and the vital, while it is the mind that dislikes the psychological defects and gets cooled down by their exposure; but this repulsion of the mind cannot last as against the stronger vital attraction.
The association [of touch] with sex is vital physical otherwise there need be no connection between the expression of affection by touch and the sex-feeling. Except in unusual cases, when the mother and son or brother and sister embrace, they do not have the sex-feeling. It is a sort of habitual conversion operated in the passage from the emotional to the physical and, being a habit only, though a strong one, can be changed.
It [touch] is vital-physical. All sex movement has a vital element in it, but the mere vital movement is not directly interested in touching or the sex-act. It is interested more in the play of the emotions, domination and subjection, quarrels, reconciliations, the interchange of vital forces etc. It is a vital-physical consciousness that gives so much importance to the touch, embrace, sex-act etc.
Avoidance of touch is best so long as there is the sex-response to touch on either side. At a higher stage, it is indifferent to touch or not to touch. What it will be in the supramental culmination, let the supramental decide.
Touch may be neutral or it may imply interchange of forces. When the interchange is that of spiritual or spiritualised forces, then it has its meaning and it is that that will justify it in the supramental realisation. But till then, it is better to be circumspect.
In ordinary society people touch each other more or less freely according to the manners of the society. That is quite a different matter because there the sex-impulse is allowed within certain more or less wide or narrow limits and even the secret indulgence is common, although people try to avoid discovery. In Bengal when there is purdah touching between men and women is confined to the family, in Europe there is not such restriction so long as there is no excessive familiarity or indecency; but in Europe sex is now practically free. Here all sex-indulgence inner or outer is considered undesirable as an obstacle to the sadhana as it very evidently is. For that reason any excessive familiarity of touch between men and women has to be avoided, anything also in the nature of caressing, as it creates or tends to create sex-tendency or even the strong sex-impulse. Casual touching has to be avoided also if it actually creates the sex-impulse. These are commonsense rules if the premiss is granted that sex has not to have any indulgence.
Nature in the material world started with the physical sex-pull for her purpose of procreation and brought in the love on the basis of sex-pull, so the one has a tendency to wake the other. It is only by a strong discipline or a strong will or a change of consciousness that one can eliminate the pull.
It is not that it is not possible to keep the love pure [of sex-desire], but the two things are so near each other and have been so much twined together in the animal beginnings of the race that it is not easy to keep them altogether separate. In the pure psychic love there is no trace of the sex-desire, but usually the vital affection gets very strongly associated with the psychic which is then mixed though still not sexual; but the vital affection and the vital physical sex-emotion are extremely close to each other, so that at any moment or in any given case one may awake the other. This becomes very strong when the sex-force is strong in an individual as it is in most vitally energetic people. To increase always the force of the psychic, to control the sex-impulse and turn it into ojas, to turn the love towards the Divine are the true remedies for this difficulty. Seminal force not sexually spent can always be turned into ojas.
When the psychic puts its influence on the vital, the first thing you must be careful to avoid is any least mixture of a wrong vital movement with the psychic movement. Lust is the perversion or degradation which prevents love from establishing its reign; so when there is the movement of psychic love in the heart, lust or vital desire is the one thing that must not be allowed to come in just as when strength comes down from above, personal ambition and pride have to be kept far away from it; for any mixture of the perversion will corrupt the psychic or spiritual action and prevent a true fulfilment.
What is this idea that this desire of the heart hungering to love women is not sex-desire? That and the physical lust are both forms of sex-desire.
Why hanker when it is a vital desire? It is a form of sex and usually calls up a more physical desire.
The sex-push is not merely the impulse to the act, as X perhaps thinks, as the push to envelop and occupy the man and to possess and be possessed. That is so especially with women, the sex-act being very often less attractive to them than to men; but of course always, if the vital physical reaches a certain point, the physical sex-movement tends to follow.
Sex-sensation may begin anywhere. As vital love it begins in the vital centre, heart or navel many romantic boys have this and it starts a love affair (often at the age of 10 or even 8) before they know anything about sex-connection. With others it begins with the nerves or with that and the sex-organ itself. There are others who do not have it. Many girls would not have it at all throughout life if they were not taught and excited by men. Some even then hate it and tolerate only under a sort of social compulsion or for the sake of having children.
There are a number of women who can love with the mind, the psychic, the vital (heart), but they shrink from a touch on the body and even when that goes, the physical act remains abhorrent to them. They may yield under pressure, but it does not reconcile them to the act which always seems to them animal and degrading. Women know this, but men seem to find it hard to believe; but it is perfectly true.
Abnormal is a word which you can stick on anything that is not quite cheap and ordinary. In that way genius is abnormal, so is spirituality, so is the attempt to live by high ideals. The tendency to physical chastity in women is not abnormal, it is fairly common and includes a very high feminine type.
The mind is the seat of thought and perception, the heart is the seat of love, the vital of desire but how does that prevent the existence of mental love? As the mind can be invaded by the feelings of the emotional or the vital, so the heart too can be dominated by the mind and moved by mental forces.
There is a vital love, a physical love. It is possible for the vital to desire a woman for various vital reasons without love in order to satisfy the instinct of domination or possession, in order to draw in the vital forces of a woman so as to feed one's own vital, for the exchange of vital forces, to satisfy vanity, the hunter's instinct of the chase, etc., etc. (This is from man's viewpoint but the woman also has her vital motives.) This is often called love, but it is only vital desire, a kind of lust. If, however, the emotions of the heart are awakened, then it becomes vital love a mixed affair with any or all of these vital motives, strong, but still vital love.
There may too be a physical love, the attraction of beauty, the physical sex-appeal or anything else of the kind awakening the emotions of the heart. If that does not happen, then the physical need is all and that is sheer lust, nothing more; but physical love is possible.
In the same way there can be a mental love. It arises from the attempt to find one's ideal in another or from some strong mental passion of admiration and wonder or from the mind's seeking for a comrade, a complement and fulfiller of one's nature, a sahadharmī, a guide and helper, a leader and master or from a hundred other mental motives. By itself that does not amount to love, though often it is so ardent as to be hardly distinguishable from it and may even push to sacrifice of life, entire self-giving, etc., etc. But when it awakes the emotions of the heart, then it may lead to a very powerful love which is yet mental in its root and dominant character. Ordinarily, however, it is the mind and vital together which combine; but this combination can exist along with a disinclination or positive dislike for the physical act and its accompaniments. No doubt, if the man presses, the woman is likely to yield, but it is contre cœur, as they say, against her feelings and their deepest instincts.
It is an ignorant psychology that reduces everything to the sex-motive and the sex-impulse.
Doctors advise marriage because they think satisfaction of the sexual instinct is necessary for the health and repression causes disturbances in the system. This is true only when there is no true giving up of the sexual indulgence, but only a change in the way of indulging it. Nowadays a new theory has come up which confirms the Indian theory of Brahmacharya, viz. that by continence retas can be changed into ojas and the vigour and the power of the being enormously increase.
As for what you say about the stimulus of the vital interchange, it is true of the vital life. Men are constantly spending the vital energy and need to renew it; one way to do it is by pulling from others in a vital interchange. This however is not necessary if one knows how to draw from the universal Nature or from the Divine, i.e. from above. Moreover when the psychic is active there is always more lost than gained by the vital interchange.
Celibacy means first not marrying it can be extended to not having sexual (physical) relations with any women, though that is not its proper meaning. It is not equivalent to Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is not binding in Bhaktimarga or Karmayoga, but it is necessary for ascetic Jnanayoga as well as for Raja and Hatha yogas. It is also not demanded from gṛhastha yogis. In this yoga the position is that one must overcome sex, otherwise there can be no transformation of the lower vital and physical nature. All physical sexual connection should cease, otherwise one exposes oneself to serious dangers. The sex-push must also be overcome but it is not a fact that there can be no sadhana or no experience before it is entirely overcome, only without that conquest one cannot go to the end and it must be clearly recognised as one of the more serious obstacles and indulgence of it as a cause of considerable disturbance.
Celibacy is one thing and freedom from sex-pushes is another. These have to be conquered and got rid of, but if freedom from them were made a test of fitness to go on, I wonder how many could be declared fit for my yoga. The will to conquer must be there, but the elimination of the sex-impulse is one of the most difficult things for human nature, and if it takes time, that is only natural.
As to the question of marriage in general, we do not consider it advisable for one who desires to come to the spiritual life. Marriage means usually any amount of trouble, heavy burdens, a bondage to the worldly life and great difficulties in the way of single-minded spiritual endeavour. Its only natural purpose would be, if the sexual trend was impossible to conquer, to give it a restricted and controlled satisfaction. I do not see in what way it could help you to keep the mind under control and subjugation; a restless mind can only be quieted from within.
About your concentration, if you are accustomed to do it between the eyebrows and find it helpful, you can continue that ordinarily, but try from time to time the concentration in the heart centre (middle of the chest) and see if it succeeds with you.
It is not right once you have turned to the Divine, to allow despondency of any kind to take hold of you. Whatever the difficulties and troubles, you must keep this confidence that by relying on the Divine, the Divine will take you through. Now I answer the questions you put to me in your letter.
1. If to follow the spiritual path is your resolve, marriage and family life can only come across it. Marriage would be the right thing only if the sexual push was so strong that there was no hope of overcoming it except by a controlled and rational indulgence for sometime during which it could be slowly brought under subjection to the will. But you say its hold on you is diminishing, so that does not seem indispensable.
2. As for leaving all and coming away from there that must be only when there is a clear and settled decision within you. To do so on an impulse would be to feel all the pull of old things after you come here and entail severe disturbance and struggle in the sadhana. When the other things fall away or are cut away from you then it can be done. Persist in your aspiration, insist on your vital to have faith and be more quiet. It will come.
You are right in feeling that the protection and grace are always there and that all has been for the best. In your wife's condition, the best was that she should change her body and she has been able to do so in the state of mind which would give her the happiest conditions both after death and for a renewal hereafter of the spiritual development for which she had begun to aspire. It is good also that you have been able to keep your poise and the freedom of your spirit in this occurrence.
Again, you are entirely right in your resolution not to marry again; to do so would be in any case to invite serious and probably insuperable difficulties in your following the path of yoga, and, as in this path of yoga it is necessary to put away sexual desire, marriage would be not only meaningless but an absolute contradiction of your spiritual life. You can expect full support and protection from us in your resolve and, if you keep a sincere will and resolution in this matter, you may be sure that the Divine Grace will not fail you.
If she consents to marry, that would be the best. All these vital disturbances proceed from suppressed sex-instinct, suppressed but not rejected and overcome.
A mental acceptance or enthusiasm for the sadhana is not a sufficient guarantee nor sufficient ground for calling people, especially young people, to begin it. Afterwards these vital instincts rise up and there is nothing sufficient to balance or prevail against them, only mental ideas which do not prevail against the instincts, but on the other hand, also stand in the way of the natural social means of satisfaction. If she marries now and gets experience of the human vital life, then thereafter there may be a chance of her mental aspiration for sadhana turning into the real thing.
I think not. It [inhibition] would not be permanently effective in itself, because the seed would always be there unless removed by a transformation of the sex-impulse; but the inhibition can help towards this transformation. It is now being recognised in Europe by the doctors who used formerly to say that sex was to be inhibited at the risk of complications in the body, that on the contrary there is part of the seminal force that is used for health, strength, youth etc. (turned into ojas, as yogins say), another that serves for sex-purposes, if a man is perfectly chaste, the latter turns more and more into the former. Only of course the external inhibition does not help this change, if the mind indulges in sex-thought or the vital or body in the unsatisfied sex-desire or sex-sensation. But if all these are stopped then the inhibition is useful.
As for the other point, the right attitude is neither to worry always about the sex-weakness and be obsessed by its importance so as to be in constant struggle and depression over it, nor to be too careless so as to allow it to grow. It is perhaps the most difficult of all to get rid of entirely; one has to recognise quietly its importance and its difficulty and go quietly and steadily about the control of it. If some reactions of a slight character remain, it is not a thing to get disturbed about only it must not be permitted to increase so as to disturb the sadhana or get too strong for the restraining will of the mental and higher vital being.
24.08.1933 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I am often troubled by sexual thoughts. How to get rid of them?
To think too much of sex even for suppressing it makes it worse. You have to open more to positive experience. To spend all the time struggling with the lower vital is a very slow method.
As to sexual impulse. Regard it not as something sinful and horrible and attractive at the same time, but as a mistake and wrong movement of the lower nature. Reject it entirely, not by struggling with it, but by drawing back from it, detaching yourself and refusing your consent; look at it as something not your own, but imposed on you by a force of Nature outside you. Refuse all consent to the imposition. If anything in your vital consents, insist on that part of you withdrawing its consent. Call in the Divine Force to help you in your withdrawal and refusal. If you can do this quietly and resolutely and patiently, in the end your inner will will prevail against the habit of the outer Nature.
The small tendencies, rajasic-vital, which you enumerate are of minor importance. They have to be removed in this sense that attachment to these things has to be given up; the vital part of the being must be prepared to consent to their absence with quietude and indifference, taking them only if they are given freely by the Divine without demand or claim or clinging, but there is nothing very serious about them otherwise.
The one serious matter is the sex-tendency. That must be overcome. But it will be more easily overcome if instead of being upset by its presence you detach the inner being from it, rise up above it and view it as a weakness of the lower nature. If you can detach yourself from it with a complete indifference in the inner being, it will seem more and more something alien to yourself, put upon you by the outer forces of Nature. Then it will be easier to remove.
The trouble of the sex-impulse is bound to dwindle away if you are in earnest about getting rid of it. The difficulty is that part of your nature (especially, the lower vital and the subconscient which is active in sleep) keeps the memory and attachment to these movements, and you do not open these parts and make them accept the Mother's Light and Force to purify them. If you did that and, instead of lamenting and getting troubled and clinging to the idea that you cannot get rid of these things, insisted quietly with a calm faith and patient resolution on their disappearance, separating yourself from them, refusing to accept them or at all regard them as part of yourself, they would after a time lose their force and dwindle.
Your difficulty in getting rid of the aboriginal in your nature will remain so long as you try to change your vital part by the sole or main strength of your mind and mental will, calling in at most an indefinite and impersonal divine power to aid you. It is an old difficulty which has never been radically solved in life itself because it has never been met in the true way. In many ways of yoga it does not so supremely matter because the aim is not a transformed life but withdrawal from life. When that is the object of an endeavour, it may be sufficient to keep the vital down by a mental and moral compulsion, or else it may be stilled and kept lying in a kind of sleep and quiescence. There are some even who allow it to run and exhaust itself if it can while its possessor professes to be untouched and unconcerned by it; for it is only old Nature running on by a past impetus and will drop off with the fall of the body. When none of these solutions can be attained, the sadhak sometimes simply leads a double inner life, divided between his spiritual experiences and his vital weaknesses to the end, making the most of his better part, making as little as may be of the outer being. But none of these methods will do for our purpose. If you want a true mastery and transformation of the vital movements, it can be done only on condition you allow your psychic being, the soul in you, to awake fully, to establish its rule and opening all to the permanent touch of the Divine Shakti, impose its own way of pure devotion, whole-hearted aspiration and complete uncompromising urge to all that is divine on the mind and heart and vital nature. There is no other way and it is no use hankering after a more comfortable path. Nānyaḥ panthā vidyate'yanāya.
It is the reason why the vital sex-difficulty is the hardest to get rid of even those who have sincerely given up the more physical form are liable to the vital form of the impulse. But it is harmful because it allows a subtle infiltration of the forces that stand in the way of the sadhana. One must get rid of them if the vital is to become entirely pure and able to contain the divine love and Ananda.
In the vital physical the response lingers long after the mind and higher vital have turned from it. I have seen that in men who were mentally and emotionally quite sincere. A few get rid of it easily, but these are a small minority. But there must be no justification on the what harm basis that is an attempt of the lower vital to get the mind and higher vital to adhere. There is always room for harm so long as the sex-response is not eliminated in both, not in you only.
The sexual urge is something that tries to take complete hold and leave no room for inhibition or control. It has a power of temporary possession which no other passion or life-impulse has to the same degree, more even than anger which comes second to it. That is why it is so difficult to get rid of it because even when the mind or higher vital refuses, the vital physical feels this possessive force and has an ingrained tendency to be passive to its urge.
Coming inside [of sex] means taking hold of you so that there is a push for satisfaction. Pressure from outside however strongly felt is not coming inside.
The sex-trouble is serious only so long as it can get the consent of the mind and the vital will. If it is driven from the mind, that is, if the mind refuses its consent, but the vital part responds to it, it comes as a large wave of vital desire and tries to sweep the mind away by force along with it. If it is driven also from the higher vital, from the heart and the dynamic possessive life-force, it takes refuge in the lower vital and comes in the shape of smaller suggestions and urges there. Driven from the lower vital level, it goes down into the obscure inertly repetitive physical and comes as sensations in the sex-centre and a mechanical response to suggestion. Driven from there too, it goes down into the subconscient and comes up as dreams and night-emissions even without dreams. But to wherever it recedes, it tries still for a time from that base or refuge to trouble and recapture the assent of the higher parts, until the victory is complete and it is driven even out of the surrounding or environmental consciousness which is the extension of ourselves into the general or universal Nature.
Is it that the body does not accept the sex-thoughts and desires? If so, you are entitled to reject it as something external to you or at most existing only in the subconscient. For it is only what something in us accepts, supports, takes pleasure in, or still mechanically responds to, that can still be called ours. If there is nothing of that, it belongs to general Nature but not to us. Of course, it returns and tries to take possession of its lost territory, but that is a foreign invasion. The rule of these things is that they have to be extruded outside the individual consciousness. Rejected by the mind and higher vital, they still try to hold on to the lower vital and physical. Rejected from the lower vital, they still hold the body by a physical desire. Rejected from the body, they retire into the environmental consciousness (sometimes into the subconscient also, rising in dreams) I mean by the environmental a sort of surrounding atmosphere which we carry about with us and by which we communicate with the universal forces and try to invade from there. Rejected from there, they become in the end too weak to be more than external suggestions till that too ends and they are finished and nonexistent.
The sex-impulse is the chief difficulty in your way. If it persists, it is because some part of your being still clings to it and your mind and will have remained divided and found some kind of half-justification for the continuance. The first thing is for the mind and also the higher vital to withdraw their consent altogether; if that is done, it becomes only a mechanical return from outside on the physical and finally only an active memory which will disappear when it is able to find no welcome in any part of the nature.
It is only if the whole consciousness is awake and aware of its concealed movements that such sex-reactions can be avoided. It does not mean that you are worse than others but that in all men the sexual element is there, active or dormant, indulged or suppressed. It can only be overcome by a spiritual awakening in all parts of the nature.
The sex-impulse is deeply rooted in the subconscient and it is difficult to get rid of it. Only the full transformation of the physical consciousness can do that except for a few who are not strongly bound by it.
It is of course the physical that is at once responsive in the most material way to sex-suggestions. What you are doing is right. As you are controlling it in the waking state, it comes out at night. That too has to be got rid of.
Persist in concentrating in the heart and remaining unmoved by the obstacles. The suggestions must never be accepted for acceptance gives them the right to return or continue. If there is no sex-response in the mind or vital and the sensation in the organic centre is isolated and without any support in the being, then it can be separately overcome. Therefore, there must be no mental assent or vital response that is the first necessary step.
Sex is strongly connected with the physical centre but also with the lower vital it is the lower vital that gives it most of its intensities and excitement. It can be disconnected from the lower vital and then it becomes a purely physical movement of the mechanical kind which has no great force except for the mechanical natures. If the physical centre is also freed then the sex-impulse ceases.
Of course, it is the vital that gives it [the play of sex] its intensity and power to hold the consciousness.
It is the physical centre sex is only one of its movements. Naturally, if the sex is active (instead of giving place to Beauty and Ananda) and if the lower movements are active, it forms an obstacle to the establishment of the higher consciousness. But the higher can descend, if there is at all an opening, even before the lower movements have definitely gone it has then to complete the work of displacing them.
Pranayama and other physical practices like Asana do not necessarily root out sexual desire sometimes by increasing enormously the vital force in the body they can even exaggerate in a rather startling way the force too of the sexual tendency, which, being at the base of the physical life, is always difficult to conquer. The one thing to do is to separate oneself from these movements, to find one's inner self and live in it; these movements will not then any longer appear as belonging to oneself but as surface impositions of the outer Prakriti upon the inner self or Purusha. They can then be more easily discarded or brought to nothing.
Hurting the flesh is no remedy for the sex-impulse, though it may be a temporary diversion. It is the vital and mostly the vital-physical that takes the sense-perception as pleasure or otherwise.
Reduction of diet has not usually a permanent effect. It may give a greater sense of physical or vital-physical purity, lighten the system and reduce certain kinds of tamas. But the sex-impulse can very well accommodate itself to a reduced diet. It is not by physical means but by a change in the consciousness that these things can be surmounted.
What seems to be best is that the movement of rising above should be completed and if you can feel there the wideness, peace, calm, silence of the Self and that can come down into the body through all the centres and there can be the working of the Force in that condition of the physical being, then the vital-physical difficulty can be faced. The effort to do it by personal tapasya can carry one to a certain point, it can throw out sex etc., but for most it does not prevent all coming back by attack unless the force of tapasya is so great and continuous that these forces get no chance. But the elimination of these things can only come, I think, by the descent of the higher consciousness bringing it the self-existent calm and wideness, the higher force and the Ananda occupying all down to the cells of the body. It is quite certain that these three together in the body can leave no room for sex even if sex came, it would at once get so transmuted that it would be sex no longer.
If it [the peace and silence] is established all through, then it brings purity and the purity throws off the sexual suggestions.
There is a force of purity, not the purity of the moralist, but an essential purity of spirit, in the very substance of the being. When that comes, then sex-waves either cannot approach or they pass without imparting any impulse, without touching anywhere.
Necessarily, you must give up the perverse habit which is one of the main causes of your despondency, vital weakness, etc. There is nothing that has more power to derange and weaken the system. If not only in your mind but in your vital also you had made the resolution to give it up, it would have disappeared long ago.
There is one way by which it is possible for you to get rid of the perverse habit: to establish a strong mental control and so get rid of the wrong movement. It is not true that it is unconquerable; on the contrary, the fact that you were able to interrupt it for some time shows that you can conquer it. It returned because these things are a movement of certain universal life-forces that, once allowed a habitual wrong response in the individual system, tend to continue in that form and, even if evicted, try always to recur. Your mind has rejected them, but something in your vital nature the part that responds directly to the universal life-forces still takes pleasure and has preserved the capacity and desire of the wrong response. A resolute and persistent effort of will can enforce in the end the rejection of the desire and finally even of any mechanical habit of the movement upon this part of the nature also. Only you must not be discouraged by relapses; your will must be more persevering than the habit and persist till there is a complete conquest.
It is the entire inner rejection of the sex-pulls and vital pulls that is necessary, a rejection by the whole lower vital itself the outer rejection can only be effective if this inner rejection comes to reinforce it. Usually people attempt the outer rejection because otherwise (if these things are indulged) the inner rejection is not likely to come since the vital trend is always being confirmed by the outer action but if the outer is rejected, then the conflict is confined to the internal desire and fought out there. Naturally an outer renunciation by itself does not liberate.
Of course one must be able to come in contact with women without feeling or thinking about sex; but to seek contact and test is not the way, it can too easily turn the other side when the mastery is not complete. The feeling and conquering must be an inner process the Tantric outer method is not indicated.
All that happens because the vital is conscious of sex in the approach and immediately assumes the man to woman attitude. To get rid of that, one must be able to look on the woman and feel to her as to a human being only. That is difficult and needs a certain training; for even if the mind is able to take the position, the vital is unreliable and one has to be on guard that it does not suddenly or surreptitiously get in into the relation with its partiality for the sex-interchange.
You had better get rid of the influence. It won't do not to be able to look at a woman or a picture of a woman without getting sexual sensations you must get rid of that.
If one admires all beautiful things, not women only, without desire then there would be no harm. But specially applied to women, it is a relic of the sex-appeal.
Strength and purity in the lower vital and wideness in the heart are the best condition for meeting others, especially women, and if that could always be there sex could hardly have a look in.
It usually happens that when actual indulgence of the vital [in sex] is given up (external exchange, touch or contact), imagination still goes on. But if this can be overcome, then the whole thing is overcome. External indulgence on the other hand keeps the activity alive. This is the raison d'être of the external avoidance. If anything can be got rid of without the necessity of avoidance, so much the better.
Care must be taken that the sexual or erotic imagination does not take hold of the consciousness representing itself as spiritual truth.
By giving up contact it [sex] can be reduced to two forms dream and imagination. Dream is not of much importance unless it affects the waking mind which it need not at all do; it can besides be discouraged and, if not fed, fades out in the end. Imaginations can only be got rid of by a tapasya of the will not allowing them to run their course, but breaking them off as soon as they begin. They come most easily when lying in bed after waking from sleep in a tamasic condition. One has to break them off either by shaking off the tamas or by emptying the mind and going to sleep again. At other times one ought to be able to stop it by turning the mind elsewhere.
It is the most dangerous movement for sex-things when just after waking one remains lying in bed; one should either go to sleep again, if there is time, or else fix the mind on wholesome things.
That is a right change. There is no condition more dangerous for the sex-imagination to come than this lying in bed in a half-awake or else a relaxed inert condition unoccupied by any activity or any experience.
Inactivity is an atmosphere in which sex easily rises.
That is the difficulty. The imagination means a consent of the physical or else the vital mind. Otherwise the [sex] sensation is often only due to physical causes and, if not supported by this automatic assent of a part of the mind, would before long diminish in its habit of recurrence.
There is no reason for you to be depressed or discouraged. The defects of the nature of which you speak are habits of the lower vital and the external being; if you recognise them fully and frankly and detect them and reject whenever they act or try to act upon you, they will in time disappear. The sexual desires show that the subconscient still retains the old impressions, movements and impulses; make the conscious parts of the being entirely free and aspire and will for the higher consciousness to come fully into the subconscient so that even in sleep and dream something in you may be aware and on guard and reject these things when they try to take form at that time.
Naturally, if you read about these things [concerning sex] they enter the mind and pass into the subconscient where they leave their impression. If the consciousness is not free from the sexual impulse, this impression can rise up from the subconscient and work in the mind.
I have already told you not to get upset over these dreams and accidents of sleep. They come from outside yourself and something replies from the subconscient which keeps for a long time all that the conscious being rejects. It is only in the later stages of the yoga that this subconscient part can be made conscious and liberated. It is the waking consciousness that you must keep free from sexual acts and sexual suggestions. If you do that, the subconscient part can be easily liberated afterwards.
Night-dreams are involuntary upsurgings of the sex-impressions from the subconscient; most, even when they are not indulging in the sex-act, have it from time to time though it varies in period from a week, a fortnight, a month to three or four months or even less. To have it more frequently indicates either indulgence in sex-imaginations which stimulate the sex-centre or else a nervous weakness in that part due to past indulgence. Some have benefited by putting a will on the body before going to sleep at night that these dreams should not happen though it may not succeed at the beginning, it tells in most cases after a time by fixing a certain inhibitory force on the subconscient from which these dreams arise. As to children indulging, that is not hereditary, but a thing taught by bad company and these children are sometimes spoiled in this way at a very early age.
It is a mistake to make so much of emissions everybody has them. The subconscient has its own movement and the want of control there is a thing one can get rid of only when there is the full light down there. At most one can deal with this special factor by putting a will into the subconscient (in the sex-centre or the organ itself) for prohibition, so that even in the subconscient during sleep there may be something that reacts. Many have been able to diminish and almost get rid of the recurrence by this means, but others have succeeded less well. In one case there was a recurrence every fortnight and that stood in spite of the will.... As for the waking difficulty do not make too much of it. Press on with the positive side of the sadhana towards realisation these things will fade and disappear when the higher consciousness is down in the sex-centre. Meanwhile it has first to be controlled and got rid of as much as possible.
There is no reason to be depressed to this extent or to have these imaginations about failure in the yoga. It is not at all a sign that you are unfit for the yoga. It simply means that the sexual impulse rejected by the conscious parts has taken refuge in the subconscient, somewhere probably in the lower vital-physical and the most physical consciousness where there are some regions not yet open to the aspiration and the light. The persistence in sleep of things rejected in the waking consciousness is a quite common occurrence in the course of the sadhana.
The remedy is:
(1) to get the higher consciousness, its light and the workings of its power down into the obscurer parts of the nature,
(2) to become progressively more conscious in sleep, with an inner consciousness which is aware of the working of the sadhana in sleep as in waking,
(3) to bring to bear the waking will and aspiration on the body in sleep.
One way to do the last is to make a strong and conscious suggestion to the body, before sleeping, that the thing should not happen; the more concrete and physical the suggestion can be made and the more directly on the sexual centre, the better. The effect may not be quite immediate at first or invariable; but usually this kind of suggestion, if you know how to make it, prevails in the end: even when it does not prevent the dream, it very often awakes the consciousness within in time to prevent untoward consequences.
It is a mistake to allow yourself to be depressed in the sadhana even by repeated failures. One must be calm, persistent and more obstinate than the resistance.
When the waking consciousness has renounced the indulgence of the sexual desires and impulses, these take refuge in the subconscient as impressions, memories, suppressed desires and come up in sleep as dreams and involuntary sleep emissions. If the waking consciousness is not itself clear, if, that is to say, though there is no physical indulgence, yet there are imaginations in the mind or desires in the vital or the body, then these dreams and emissions can be frequent. Even if the waking consciousness is clear, the subconscient emergences can still come for a time, but in time they diminish. Some are able to get rid of this by putting a strong prohibiting will or force on the subconscient or on the sex-centre before going to sleep, but this does not succeed with everyone. The main thing is to get the increasing force of brahmacarya in the waking consciousness, complete expulsion of sex-thoughts, speech, physical craving or impulse the subconscient remnants will either die out or be cleared out afterwards when one is able to bring the higher consciousness down here.
In order that the dream emissions may diminish or cease, it is necessary first to have complete Brahmacharya, kāyamanovākyena not only to banish sexuality from the bodily action, but also sexual impulses from the vital and body consciousness and sexual thoughts and imaginations from the mind and speech and not talk about sexual things. The dreams arise from the subconscient where all impressions and instincts are stored up and any of these things stimulates the subconscient and increases its store which can well up in dreams. If one makes the waking consciousness entirely pure, then by putting a will or force on the subconscient (especially before going to sleep) one can after a time eliminate the sex-dreams and emissions.
Apart from the total rejection of sex-thoughts and imaginations and actions, which ends by acting in the subconscient also, I don't know any remedy for sex-dreams except the putting of a force as concrete as possible on the sex-centre and organ prohibiting this urge and its result, put when about to sleep and renewed each time one wakes and goes to sleep again. But this all cannot manage to use, for they employ a mental will instead of a concrete force (the mental will can be effective, but is not always so). This method, besides, only acts for the time, it inhibits but except in rare cases does not permanently cure; it does not get rid of the sex-impressions in the subconscient, and of course it means thinking of the sex-affair though only negatively.
I have heard it said that even very advanced yogis get the dreams at least once in six months I don't know how far it is true or what the yogis themselves say about it. But the sex-impressions in the heart can be got rid of long before the end of life, and even the seed state in the subconscient which comes up in dreams, though sticky enough, is not quite so irremovable as all that.
Anyway, the dream-kind is not so much to trouble about, unless it is frequent it is the waking state that must be rigorously cleared out. Sometimes, if that is done, there is automatic extension of the habit of rejection to the subconscient, so that when the dream is coming there is an automatic prohibition that stops it. Under a regime like that I think the sex-pressure would become, if not non-existent, yet permanently quiescent in its seed state and so practically non est.
The first thing necessary in such matters is to be perfectly calm and refuse to be upset by these difficulties. If they rise, one must take it that they do so in order to be worked out. If there is nothing in the waking consciousness to encourage the sex-difficulty, then these dreams or discharges without dreams can only be a rising up of old dormant impressions in the subconscient. Such risings often take place when the Force is working in the subconscient to clear it. It is also just possible that the discharges may be due, especially where there are no dreams, to purely material causes, e.g., the pressure of undischarged urine or faecal matter near the bladder. But in any case, the thing is not to be disturbed and to put a force or will on the sex-centre or sex-organ for these things to cease. This can be done just before sleeping. Usually after a time, if done regularly, it has an effect. A calm general pressure of will or force on the physical subconscient is to be put. The subconscient may be often obstinate in its continual persistence, but it can and does accommodate itself quickly or slowly to the will of the conscious being.
Your dreams were mostly on the vital-physical plane. There if there is any physical contact of a sexual or other kind that acts strongly on the sexual centre or on a sensory contact it may even without raising any lust produce an emission by a mechanical blind and unconscious action of the purely physical (not even vital-physical) kind. It is only when the sex-centre has become strong that this becomes impossible.
If it [the sex-emission] were normal why should it depress and weaken the system so much? People always complain of this enfeeblement and if it happens often get seriously depressed and tamasic. It is not necessary of course that it should be so, for if one reacts one can prevent the depression or weakness, but most feel it. It is of course normal in the sense that it happens when one has discontinued sex-activity without getting free of the sex-imagination or impulse or even afterwards when one is no longer troubled by sex it may continue for some time due to ineradicated impressions in the subconscient. It may sometimes relieve of an excess of secretion, but the result of weakness seems to indicate more often a loss of necessary vigour-stuff. The proper way of dealing with excess, is to turn the excess into pure energy-stuff, retas into ojas.
It is obviously an attack which falls upon your nervous system through the subconscient. It comes in sleep because in the waking consciousness you are more on your guard and able to react against attacks. Usually this kind of dream and discharge come when the physical consciousness is in a tamasic condition through fatigue or strain or any other cause, in a heavy sleep or under a stress of inertia.
The first thing to do is to reject the after consequences as you have done this time for you say you do not feel any weakness, but rather as if nothing had happened. It is not at all inevitable that one should feel weakness after a dream of this kind and a discharge; it is only by a habitual association in the physical mind that these forces can bring these reactions of nervous weakness.
As for preventing the discharge, it can be done by becoming more conscious in sleep. You were conscious of all that happened, but you must besides develop the power of a conscious will which sees what is going to happen and interferes to prevent it, either by waking in time or by stopping the dream or prohibiting the discharge. All this is perfectly possible, it is a matter of habit and a little persistence.
It is also often found very effective to put a will or force upon the body consciousness before going to sleep that it shall not happen especially when you feel the predisposing condition of heaviness and inertia, it should be done. This will is not always immediately successful, but after a time the subconscient gets the habit of responding to the will or force thus laid upon it and the trouble dwindles and finally disappears altogether.
This kind of sexual attack through sleep does not depend very much on food or anything else that is outward. It is a mechanical habit in the subconscient; when the sexual impulse is rejected or barred out in the waking thoughts and feelings, it comes in this form in sleep, for then there is only the subconscient at work and there is no conscious control. It is a sign of sexual desire suppressed in the waking mind and vital, but not eliminated in the stuff of the physical nature.
To eliminate it one must first be careful to harbour no sexual imagination or feeling in the waking state, next, to put a strong will on the body and especially on the sexual centre that there should be nothing of the kind in sleep. This may not succeed at once, but if persevered in for a long time, it usually has a result; the subconscient begins to obey.
The pressure from the kidneys or the intestines bringing dream of sex-tendency or imagination is the last and most physical form it often remains when the others have gone. The body dull and the mind half awake is indeed what gives it its opportunity. But if it is only for a few minutes and leaves no after effect, then the tendency ought to disappear after a time.
Attacks [of sex-forces] can come in the daylight or in night, so they can come in electric light also. It is only the inner light that discourages attacks though it may not entirely prevent them unless there is the Force also.
Yes, of course, skin diseases have much to do with sexual desires not of course always, but often.
I suppose it [pimples on the face] is often the result of suppressed sexuality suppressed in act but still internally active. These things do not act in the same way with all, with some it may act on the blood, with some it may not or else not in the same form. Moreover I do not suppose that sex is the only cause of pimples on the face there are other things also that can give that.
Control of speech is very necessary for the physical change.
Mauna is seldom of much use. After it is over, the speech starts again as in the old times. It is in speech itself that the speech must change.
That is not the way. Absolute silence and looseness of talk are two extremes; neither is good. I have seen many people practising maunavrata, but afterwards they are just as talkative as before. It is self-mastery you must get.
On the whole you are right. Useless conversation which lowers the consciousness or brings back something of a past consciousness is better avoided. Talking about sadhana also comes under the category when it is merely mental discussion of a superficial kind.
It is something very external that takes pleasure in light talk, and it is only when the quietude and with it a certain spontaneous self-control is established in the lower vital nature that this tendency can be entirely conquered in those who have it i.e. in most people.
All these things will be worked out in time. What is most important is to get down the quietude into all the being and with it the true force bringing the energy which you describe above.
In talking one has the tendency to come down into a lower and more external consciousness because talking comes from the external mind. But it is impossible to avoid it altogether. What you must do is to learn to get back at once to the inner consciousness this so long as you are not able to speak always from the inner being or at least with the inner being supporting the action.
Talk is more external than writing, depends more on the physical and its condition. Therefore in most cases it is more difficult to get it out of the clutch of the external mind.
Talk of the usual kind does very easily disperse or bring down the inner condition because it usually comes out of the lower vital and the physical mind only and expresses that part of the consciousness it has a tendency to externalise the being. That is of course why so many yogis take refuge in silence.
There are some who have the flow of speech by nature and those who are very vital cannot do without it. But the latter case (not being able to do without it) is obviously a disability from the spiritual point of view. There are also certain stages in the sadhana when one has to go inward and silence is at that time very necessary while unnecessary speech becomes a dispersion of the energies or externalises the consciousness. It is especially this chat for chat's sake tendency that has to be overcome.
Chat of that kind has indeed a very tiring effect when one is at all in the stream of true experience, because it dissipates the energy uselessly and makes the mind movement a thing of valueless shreds and patches instead of gathered and poised in itself so as to receive.
There is always a chance of something light and unbalancing coming in when there is levity indulged in for its own sake. The consciousness feels a little shaken in its seat, if not pulled out. Once the consciousness is well set inside, then the outward movement gets determined from within and there is no such trouble.
Yes. The speech must come from within and be controlled from within.
The difficulty you experience exists because speech is a formation which in the past has worked much more as an expression of the vital in man than of the mental will. Speech breaks out as the expression of the vital and its habits, without caring to wait for the control of the mind; the tongue has been spoken of as the unruly member. In your case the difficulty has been increased by the habit of talk about others, gossip, to which your vital was very partial, so much that it cannot even yet give up the pleasure in it. It is therefore this tendency that must cease in the vital itself. Not to be under the control of the impulse to speech, to be able to do without it as a necessity and to speak only when one sees that it is right to do so and only what one sees to be right to say, is a very necessary part of yogic self-control.
It is only by perseverance and vigilance and a strong resolution that this can be done, but if the resolution is there, it can be done in a short time by the aid of the Force behind.
It is obvious that things which are a long habit cannot go at once. Especially, speech is a thing which in most people is largely automatic and not under their control. It is the vigilance that establishes the control, so one must be on guard against the danger of which you speak, the slacking of the vigilance. Only, the more it can be a quiet and unmixed, not an anxious vigilance, the better.
The habits of the physical or the vital-physical nature are always the most difficult to change, because their action is automatic and not governed by the mental will and it is therefore difficult for the mental will to control or transform them. You have to persevere and form the habit of control. If you can succeed in controlling the speech often, it needs a constant vigilance, you will finally find that the control stamps itself and can in the long run always intervene. This must be done so long as that movement is not fully opened to the Mother's Light and Force, for if that happens the thing can be done more quickly and sometimes with a great rapidity. There is also the intervention of the psychic, if the psychic being is sufficiently awake and active to intervene each time you are going to speak at random and say No, then the change becomes more easy.
The headache and the fatigue is always a sign that the consciousness no longer wants this outward-going thought and speech and is even physically strained by it. But it is the subconscient habit that wants to continue. Mostly human speech and thought go on mechanically in certain grooves that always repeat themselves and it is not really the mind that controls or dictates them. That is why this habit can go on for some time even after the conscious mind has withdrawn its support and consent and resolved to do otherwise. But if one perseveres, this subconscious mechanical habit runs down like all machinery that is not kept wound up to go on again. Then one can form the opposite habit in the subconscient of admitting only what the inner being consents to think or speak.
That happens very usually. Talking of an unnecessary character tires the inner being because the talk comes from the outer nature while the inner has to supply the energy which it feels squandered away.
Even those who have a strong inner life, take a long time before they can connect it with the outer speech and action. Outer speech belongs to the externalising mind that is why it is so difficult to connect it with the inner life.
Yes, of course, complete truth of speech is very important for the sadhak and a great help for bringing Truth into the consciousness. It is at the same time difficult to bring the speech under control; for people are accustomed to speak what comes to them and not to supervise and control what they say. There is something mechanical about speech and to bring it to the level of the highest part of the consciousness is never easy. That is one reason why to be sparing in speech is helpful. It helps to a more deliberate control and prevents the tongue from running away with one and doing whatever it likes.
To stand back means to become a witness of one's own mind and speech, to see them as something separate from oneself and not identify oneself with them. Watching them as a witness, separate from them, one gets to know what they are, how they act and then put a control over them, reject what one does not approve and think and speak only what one feels to be true. This cannot, of course, be done all at once. It takes time to establish this attitude of separateness, still more time to establish the control. But it can be done by practice and persistence.
It [speech] can only be controlled if you separate yourself from the part that is speaking and are able to observe it. It is the external mind that speaks one has to watch it from the inner witnessing mind and put a control.
It is really an inner silence that is needed a something silent within that looks at outer talk and action but feels it as something superficial, not itself and is quite indifferent and untouched by it. It can bring forces to support speech and action or it can stop them by withdrawal or it can let them go on and observe without being involved or moved.
It is of course because the consciousness is thrown out in these things [discussions and laughter] and one comes out of the inner poise and has difficulty in going back to it especially as there is a sort of dispersion of the vital energy. If one attains to a condition in which one can do these things only with the surface of the consciousness, keeping inside and observing what is done on the surface, but not forgetting oneself in it, then the poise is not lost. But it is a little difficult to get at this duplication of oneself one comes to it however in time especially if the inner peace and calm become very intense and durable.
If the peace is very strong within, talking does not cloud it because this peace is not mental or vital even when it pervades the mind and vital or else it is a cloud that quickly passes without touching deeply. Usually however such talk disperses the consciousness and one can lose much. The only disadvantage of not talking is that it isolates too much, if it is absolute, but by not talking these things [news etc.] one loses nothing.
That (thinking over what was talked) is a physical mind habit which should in course of time wear out. The mind should be free to shut off immediately as soon as the talk is done.
Hastiness of speech and action (in excess, because to a certain extent it exists in everybody) is a matter of temperament. I do not suppose it is more in you than in many others here. Of course it has to be got rid of, but it is one of the lesser, not one of the major imperfections of nature with which the yogic Force has to deal. It is the externalising mind that has to be disciplined so that it may not leap too soon to conclusions or rush immediately from thought to speech and action.
These discussions are perfectly useless, they only deflect the mind and open the gate to falsehoods.
The psychic self-control that is desirable in these surroundings and in the midst of discussion would mean among other things:
1. Not to allow the impulse of speech to assert itself too much or say anything without reflection, but to speak always with a conscious control and only what is necessary and helpful.
2. To avoid all debate, dispute or too animated discussion and simply say what has to be said and leave it there. There should also be no insistence that you are right and the others wrong, but what is said should only be thrown in as a contribution to the consideration of the truth of the matter.
3. To keep the tone of speech and the wording very quiet and calm and uninsistent.
4. Not to mind at all if others are heated and dispute, but remain quiet and undisturbed and yourself speak only what can help things to be smooth again.
5. If there is gossip about others and harsh criticism (especially about sadhaks), not to join for these things are helpful in no way and only lower the consciousness from its higher level.
6. To avoid all that would hurt or wound others.
Harangues and exhortations touch only the surface of the mind. If the mind is in agreement it is pleased and stimulated, but that is all. If it is not in agreement the mind criticises or becomes impatient and turns aside. If the harangue is very forcible it may touch the vital sometimes and produce a momentary effect.
That [preaching to others what one is lacking in oneself] is not hypocrisy but a conflict between two parts of the nature. Hypocrisy comes in only when one preaches a thing one does not believe or deliberately pretends to be or aim at what one is not and has no intention of trying to become.
The depression came into you subconsciously because you had the discussion with X. When you discuss like that with people, you put something in them, but something also comes from them to you. So, as X was not in quite a good condition, though nothing like what he used to be in his depressions, you easily got a touch of it and as soon as the subconscious could find a habitual excuse it sent it up to the mind. You should always be on your guard against these automatic interchanges. A little care is sufficient and no needless discussion.
In speaking there should be always a sort of instinctive defence except with those who are free from the ordinary vital impulse.
It is the nervous envelope that is weak it is this that you saw. The fact that you feel weak when talking with people shows that the origin of the whole trouble is a weakened nervous force. It is this that you have to get strong. You should avoid much talking with others you can also take rest when you feel the symptoms very strong. But faith, quietude and openness to the higher force are the fundamental cure.
Yes, obviously, the power to say No is indispensable in life and still more so in sadhana. It is the power of rejection put into speech.
In all things there must be a control over thought and speech also. But while rajasic violence is excluded, a calmly forceful severity of thought and speech where severity is needed is sometimes indispensable.
The habit of criticism mostly ignorant criticism of others mixed with all sorts of imaginations, inferences, exaggerations, false interpretations, even gross inventions is one of the universal illnesses. It is a disease of the vital aided by the physical mind which makes itself an instrument of the pleasure taken in this barren and harmful pursuit of the vital. Control of the speech, refusal of this disease and the itch of the vital is very necessary, if inner experience has to have any true effect of transformation in the outer life.
It is also better to be more strict about not talking of others and criticising them with the ordinary mind. It is necessary in order to develop a deeper consciousness and outlook on things that understands in silence the movements of Nature in oneself and others and is not moved or disturbed or superficially interested and drawn into an external movement.
The sadhaks of this Ashram are not perfect they have plenty of weaknesses and wrong movements. It is blindness not to be able to see that; only it should not lead to a criticising or condemnatory attitude towards persons and it should be regarded as the play of forces which have to be overcome.
It is very evident from this inward control which you feel enlightening and guiding you and the resolution of truth-speaking that it made you take, that your psychic being is awake within you.
The fault of character of which you speak is common and almost universal in human nature. The impulse to speak what is untrue or at least to exaggerate or understate or twist the truth so as to flatter one's own vanity, preferences, wishes or to get some advantage or secure something desired is very general. But one must learn to speak the truth alone if one is to succeed truly in changing the nature.
To become conscious of what is to be changed in the nature is the first step towards changing it. But one must observe these things without being despondent or thinking it is hopeless or I cannot change. You do right to be confident that the change will come. For nothing is impossible in the nature if the psychic being is awake and leading you with the Mother's consciousness and force behind it and working in you. This is now happening. Be sure that all will be done.
Useless or not, untruth should be avoided.
If you get the English original2 from X, you will see that what is written is from the highest standpoint. If you want to be an instrument of the Truth, you must always speak the truth and not falsehood. But this does not mean that you must tell everything to everybody. To conceal the truth by silence or refusal to speak is permissible, because the truth may be misunderstood or misused by those who are not prepared for it or who are opposed to it it may even be made a starting-point for distortion or sheer falsehood. But to speak falsehood is another matter. Even in jest it should be avoided, because it tends to lower the consciousness. As for the last point, it is again from the highest standpoint the truth as one knows it in the mind is not enough, for the mind's idea may be erroneous or insufficient it is necessary to have the true knowledge in the true consciousness.
Why should it be lying? One is not bound to tell everything to everybody it might often do more harm than good. One has only to say what is necessary. Of course what is said must be true and not false and there must never be any intention to deceive.
As one likes is never a formula that leads to truth, it implies enthroning the vital and its desire as the standard or following the mind's preferences which even in any mental discipline is regarded as contrary to the very principle of the search for Truth.
In the first place, there is a great difference between uttering as truth what one believes or knows to be false and uttering as truth what one conscientiously believes to be true, but is not in fact true. The first is obviously going against the spirit of truth, the second does homage to it. The first is deliberate falsehood, the second is only error at worst or ignorance.
This is from the practical point of view of truth-speaking. From the point of view of higher Truth, it must not be forgotten that each plane of consciousness has its own standard what is truth to the mind, may be only partial truth to a higher consciousness, but it is through the partial truth that the mind has to go in order to reach the wider more perfect truth beyond. All that is necessary for it is to be open and plastic, to be ready to recognise the higher when it comes, not to cling to the lower because it is its own, not to allow the desires and passions of the vital to blind it to the Light or to twist and pervert things. When once the higher consciousness begins to act, the difficulty diminishes and there is a clear progress from truth to greater truth.
It is not the fact that if a man is truthful (in the sense of not lying), all he says happens. For that he must know the Truth be in touch with the truth of things, not merely speak the truth as his mind knows it.
As for shyness, there are two kinds: one is egoistic, being ashamed of expressing the Truth or showing allegiance to it in ways which would not be understood by others, the other is a certain reserve, an unwillingness to expose one's deeper feelings to the gaze of others, the wish to keep sacred and secret the relations of love with the Divine that is a psychic feeling.
I do not think X's trance has anything to do with her ill-health; I have never known the habit of trances of that kind to have any such result, only the violent breaking of a trance might have a bad result, though it would not necessarily produce a disaster. But there is the possibility that if the conscious being goes out of the body in an absolutely complete trance, the thread which connects it with the body might be broken or else cut by some adverse force and it would not be able to return into the physical frame. Apart from any such fatal possibility there might be a shock which might produce a temporary disorder or even some kind of lesion; as a rule, however, a shock would be the only consequence. The general question is a different matter. There is a sort of traditional belief in many minds that the practice of yoga is inimical to the health of the body and tends to have a bad effect of one kind or another and even finally leads to a premature or an early dropping of the body. Ramakrishna seems to have held the view, if we can judge from his remarks about the connection between Keshav Sen's progress in spirituality and the illness which undermined him, that one was the result and the desirable result of the other, a liberation and release from life in this world, mukti. That may or may not be; but I find it difficult to believe that illness and deterioration of the body is the natural and general result of the practice of yoga or that that practice is the cause of an inevitable breakdown of health or of the final illnesses which bring about departure from the body. On what ground are we to suppose or how can it be proved that while non-yogis suffer from ill-health and die because of the disorders of Nature, yogis die of their yoga? Unless a direct connection between their death and their practice of yoga can be proved and this could be proved with certainty only in particular cases and even then not with an absolute certainty there is no sufficient reason to believe in such a difference. It is more rational to conclude that both yogis and non-yogis fall ill and die from natural causes and by the same dispensation of Nature; one might even advance the view, since they have the Yoga-Shakti at their disposal if they choose to use it, that the yogi falls ill and dies not because of but in spite of his yoga. At any rate, I don't believe that Ramakrishna (or any other yogi) fell ill because of his trances; there is nothing to show that he ever suffered in that way after a trance. I think it is said somewhere or he himself said that the cancer in his throat of which he died came by his swallowing the sins of his disciples and those who approached him: that again may or may not be, but it will be his own peculiar case. It is no doubt possible to draw the illnesses of others upon oneself and even to do it deliberately, the instance of the Greek king Antigonus and his son Dimitrius is a famous historical case in point; yogis also do this sometimes; or else adverse forces may throw illnesses upon the yogi, using those round him as a door or a passage or the ill wishes of people as an instrumental force. But all these are special circumstances connected, no doubt, with his practice of yoga; but they do not establish the general proposition as an absolute rule. A tendency such as X's to desire or welcome or accept death as a release could have a force because of her advanced spiritual consciousness which it would not have in ordinary people. On the other side, there can be an opposite use and result of the yogic consciousness: illness can be repelled from one's own body or cured, even chronic or deep-seated illnesses and long-established constitutional defects remedied or expelled and even a predestined death delayed for a long period. Narayan Jyotishi, a Calcutta astrologer, who predicted, not knowing then who I was, in the days before my name was politically known, my struggle with Mlechchha enemies and afterwards the three cases against me and my three acquittals, predicted also that though death was prefixed for me in my horoscope at the age of 63, I would prolong my life by yogic power for a very long period and arrive at a full old age. In fact, I have got rid by yogic pressure of a number of chronic maladies that had got settled in my body. But none of these instances either on the favourable or unfavourable side can be made into a rule; there is no validity in the tendency of human reason to transform the relativity of these things into an absolute. Finally I may say of X's trances that they are the usual savikalpa kind opening to all kinds of experiences, but the large abiding realisations in yoga do not usually come in trance but by a persistent waking sadhana. The same may be said of the removal of attachments; some may be got rid of sometimes by an experience in trance, but more usually it must be done by persistent endeavour in waking sadhana.
Above all, do not harbour that idea of an unfit body all suggestions of that kind are a subtle attack on the will to siddhi and especially dangerous in physical matters. It has been cropping up in several people who are doing the yoga and the first business is to expel it bag and baggage. Appearances and facts may be all in its favour, but the first condition of success for the yogin and indeed for anybody who wants to do anything great or unusual is to be superior to facts and disbelieve in appearances. Will to be free from disease, however formidable, many-faced or constant its attacks, and repel all contrary suggestions.
All illnesses are obviously due to the imperfect nature of the body and the physical nature. The body can be immune only when it is open to the higher consciousness and the latter can descend into it. Till then what he writes is the remedy if he can also call in the force to throw out the illness that is the most powerful help possible.
The human body has always been in the habit of answering to whatever forces chose to lay hands on it and illness is the price it pays for its inertia and ignorance. It has to learn to answer to the one Force alone, but that is not easy for it to learn.
Attacks of illness are attacks of the lower nature or of adverse forces taking advantage of some weakness, opening or response in the nature, like all other things that come and have got to be thrown away, they come from outside. If one can feel them so coming and get the strength and the habit to throw them away before they can enter the body, then one can remain free from illness. Even when the attack seems to rise from within, that means only that it has not been detected before it entered the subconscient; once in the subconscient, the force that brought it rouses it from there sooner or later and it invades the system. When you feel it just after it has entered, it is because though it came direct and not through the subconscient, yet you could not detect it while it was still outside. Very often it arrives like that frontally or more often tangentially from the side direct, forcing its way through the subtle vital envelope which is our main armour of defence, but it can be stopped there in the envelope itself before it penetrates the material body. Then one may feel some effect, e.g., feverishness or a tendency to cold, but there is not the full invasion of the malady. If it can be stopped earlier or if the vital envelope of itself resists and remains strong, vigorous and intact, then there is no illness; the attack produces no physical effect and leaves no traces.
26.03.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
It was Y who said to K the other day that Mother told them in an interview that you and Mother have conquered Death, that S needn't die and that even if such a possibility came, if they called you fervently Death would recede.
What the Mother said was that there was no necessity that S should die – of the possibility both S and Y knew – and if death came, yet if they could call in the force it would have to recede. This was a statement of the principle and it is a thing that has happened to many. It was not an affirmation that S would certainly live. The sadhaks have a habit of turning spiritual truths into crude downright statements of a miraculous kind which lead to many misunderstandings.
About yourself there is already a strong conviction “based on fact” that you have made yourself immortal.
On what fact?
In one of your talks in the early days you seem to have acclaimed yourself as immortal except under 3 conditions – accident, poison and Ichchha Mrityu.3
It must have been a joke taken as a self-acclamation. Or perhaps what I said was that I have the power to overcome illness, but accident and poison and the I.M. still remain as possible means of death. Of course, the Mother and myself have hundreds of times thrown back the forces of illness and death by a slight concentration of force or even a use of will merely.
And just lately I came to know that the first two also have been conquered and the last, Ichchha Mrityu, depends on your Ichchha.
Great heavens, when?
Another conviction which all of us shared is that you could never have any illness; but your “eye”, due to whatever cause, has shattered it.
It is long since I have had anything but slight fragments of illness – (e.g. sneezes, occasional twitches of rheumatism or neuralgia: but the last is mostly now outside the body and does not penetrate) – with the exception of the eye and the throat (only one kind of cough though, the others can't come) which are still vulnerable points. Ah yes, there is also prickly-heat; but that has diminished to almost nothing these last years. There is sometimes an attempt at headache, but it remains above the head, tries to get in and then recedes. Giddiness also the same. I don't just now remember anything else. These are the facts about “having no illness”. As for the conclusion, well, you can make a medical one or a Yogic one according to your state of knowledge.
You have written that with the growth of the inward consciousness, one can feel the forces of illness coming and if one knows how to stop them one can do so. Then surely you can see what is coming, why don't you prevent it? How does this theory coincide with what you have written namely that illness can be conquered only by the Supramental rooting itself firmly?
Always the same rigid mind that turns everything into a statement of miraculous absoluteness! It is my experience and the Mother's that all illnesses4 pass through the subtle consciousness and subtle body before they enter the physical. If one is conscious, one can stop it entering the physical, one can develop the power to do so. We have done that millions of times. But that does not mean that every time we will do so. It may come without one's noticing or when one is asleep or through the subconscient or in a sudden rush when one is off one's guard etc., etc. Let us suppose however that I am always on guard, always conscious, even in sleep – that does not mean that I am immunised in my very nature from all illness. It only means a power of self-defence against it when it tries to come. Self-defence may become so strong that the body becomes practically immune as many Yogis are. Still the “practically” does not mean “absolutely” for all time. The absoluteness can only come with the supramental change. For below the supramental it is an action of a Force among many forces – in the supramental it becomes a law of the nature.
Can the supramental really make immortal a tottering old man, with all his anatomy and physiology pathological?
Well, don't you know that old men sometimes get a new or third set of teeth in their old age? And if monkey glands can renew functionings and forces and even make hair grow on a bald head, as Voronoff has proved by living examples, – well? And mark that Science is only at the beginning of these experiments. If these possibilities are opening before Science, why should one declare their absolute impossibility by other means?
In Yogic Sadhan5 I find that by Yoga every cell in the body can be changed in structure and function; but to expect that in a grand old man – well, isn't it too much even for the Yogic Force?
Now that the omnipotence of this Force is being questioned, will you kindly write that promised letter “by means of examples” on what Yogic Force can do?
There is a difference between Yogic Force on the mental and inferior planes and the Supramental Nature. What is acquired and held by the Yoga-Force in the mind-and-body consciousness is in the supramental inherent and exists not by achievement but by nature – it is self-existent and absolute.6
Not now. I am too busy trying to get things done to spend time in getting them written.
Last night I was taking a walk in the yard when I began to feel that it was not I who was doing the walking, but some form which I did not know at all. It seemed to be devoid of much vitality or consciousness. As I came into the area where it was a little darker, the things that were, lying about looked peculiar as if they existed in dreamland, – and in the midst of them was this form walking about like one in sleep. Is it all imagination?
It is a very usual experience. It means that for a moment you were no longer in your body, but somehow either above or outside the body consciousness. This sometimes happens by the vital being rising up above the head or, more rarely, by its projecting itself into its own sheath (part of the subtle body) out of the physical attachment. But it also comes by a sudden even if momentary liberation from the identification with the body consciousness, and this liberation may become frequent and prolonged or permanent. The body is felt as something separate or some small circumstance in the consciousness or as something one carries about with one etc., etc., the exact experience varies. Many sadhaks here have had it. When one is accustomed, the strangeness of it (dreamland etc.) disappears.
I propose to go to the hospital 3 or 4 days in a week, because I think it will help my work. But please don't say later on that I was following closely my predecessor Esculape, in trying to be a big doctor.
Mother fully approves your attending – she considers it helpful in many ways. So have no scruples Esculapian or otherwise.
May I use a cycle to go to the hospital?
Where will you keep the cycle there? If there is a safe place, you can have the cycle.
That is how illnesses try to come from one person to another they attack, by a suggestion like this or otherwise, the nervous being and try to come in. Even if the illness is not contagious, this often happens, but it comes more easily in contagious illnesses. The suggestion or touch has to be thrown off at once.
There is a sort of protection round the body which we call the nervous envelope if this remains strong and refuses entrance to the illness force, then one can remain well even in the midst of plague or other epidemics if the envelope is pierced or weak, then the illness can come in.
What you felt attacked was not really the physical body, but this nervous envelope and the nervous body (prāṇakoṣa) of which it is an extension or cover.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I hear that plenty of forces come to people while meditating. Even the force of illness can come, I am told, if one gets scared.
Well, that is quite possible. If it does one has only to kick it away and say, “Get off, you fool.” Or if you are not vigorous enough to do that call the Mother's force.
When the forces come during meditation, it seems that if one lets fear possess one, there is even a chance of madness.
Not necessarily madness. Plenty of people get afraid without getting mad. Madness is exceptional. What fear does is to stop the experience or else it exposes you to blows from the vital beings. If you don't fear, they can't hit you. Fear must not enter in Yoga. As Vivekananda said, the Yogi must be .7
I can't understand how any illness can come by subtle forces. How is that to be reconciled with the action of the germs?
What is the difficulty? You are like the scientists who say or used to say that there is no suck thing as mind or thought independent of the physical brain: mind and thought are only names for brain quiverings. Or that there is no such thing as vital Force because all the movements of life depend upon chemicals, glands and what not. These things and the germs also are a minor physical instrumentation for something supraphysical.
How do the subtle forces work to bring about illness?
They first weaken or break through the nervous envelope, the aura. If that is strong and whole, a thousand million germs will not be able to do anything to you. The envelope pierced, they attack the subconscient mind in the body, sometimes also the vital mind or mind proper – prepare the illness by fear or thought of illness. The doctors themselves say that in influenza or cholera in the Far East 90 p.c. get ill through fear. Nothing to take away the resistance like fear. But still the subconscient is the main thing.
If the contrary Force is strong in the body one can move in the midst of plague and cholera and never get contaminated.
What about Ramakrishna dying of cancer? But he was an Avatar!
Why should he not? Why on earth limit the possibilities of an Avatar?
Even if we take his Avatarhood to be compatible with his cancer, should not the cancer be accepted as a physical fact due to physical causes rather than as due to subtle forces, the result (if we are to believe Ramakrishna himself) of a moral-spiritual situation? Do not the Laws of Nature and the existence of the material world that is proved by our instruments of observation make things like soul and God and subtle worlds superfluous?
What did he himself say about it – that it was the sins of his disciples which constituted the cancer? There is a physical aspect of things and there is an occult supraphysical aspect – one need not get in the way of the other. All physical things are the expression of the supraphysical. The existence of a body with physical instruments and processes does not, as the 19th century wrongly imagined, disprove the existence of a soul which uses the body even if it is also conditioned by it. Laws of Nature do not disprove the existence of God. The fact of a material world to which our instruments are accorded does not disprove the existence of less material worlds which certain subtler instruments can show to us.
The spiritual Force is said to be enough to cure illnesses. Why then do you encourage Dr. X's treatment? This Force and his medicines – aren't they incompatibles?
Where the illness becomes pronounced and chronic in the body, it is necessary often to call in the aid of physical treatment and that is then used as a support of the Force. X in his treatment does not rely on medicines alone, but uses them as an instrumentation for the Mother's force.
Can the anti-illness force of the Yogic consciousness be absolute?
The absoluteness can only come with the supramental change. For below the supramental, it is an action of a Force among many forces – in the supramental, it becomes a law of the nature.
Can the supramental really make immortal a tottering old man, with all his anatomy and physiology pathological? It seems too much to expect even from the Yogic Force!
Well, don't you know that old men sometimes get a new or third set of teeth in their old age? And if monkey-glands can renew functionings and forces and can make hair grow on a bald head, as Voronoff has proved by living examples, – well? And mark that Science is only at the beginning of these experiments. If these possibilities are opening before Science, why should one declare their absolute impossibility by other means?
There is a difference between Yogic Force and Supra-mental Nature. What is acquired and held by the Force in the one becomes inherent in the Supramental and exists by nature – it becomes self-existent and absolute.
I was myself going to write to you about Voronoff and rejuvenation. Have you any idea why the moneky-gland is used? I wonder how far the rejuvenating operation is successful.
It is successful partially and for a period – one cannot say more than that. But even that – rejuvenation for a period – is a tremendous progress and how can one say where it will end? As for the monkey, it is because it is nearest to man and at the same time of an extremely vital nature, I mean full of vital force. As for the gland, it is because the seat of the physical energy is there which supports and reinforces all the rest. Voronoff's selection is perfectly logical and intuitive at the same time.
Physical sufferings are due to attacks of the forces of the Ignorance. But if one knows how to do it, one can make them a means of purification. There are however better and less difficult means of purification.
Your theory of illness is rather a perilous creed for illness is a thing to be eliminated, not accepted or enjoyed. There is something in the being that enjoys illness, it is possible even to turn the pains of illness like any other pain into a form of pleasure; for pain and pleasure are both of them degradations of an original Ananda and can be reduced into the terms of each other or else sublimated into their original principle of Ananda. It is true also that one must be able to bear illness with calm, equanimity, endurance, even recognition of it, since it has come, as something that had to be passed through in the course of experience. But to accept and enjoy it means to help it to last and that will not do; for illness is a deformation of the physical nature just as lust, anger, jealousy, etc., are deformations of the vital nature and error and prejudice and indulgence of falsehood are deformations of the mental nature. All these things have to be eliminated and rejection is the first condition of their disappearance while acceptance has a contrary effect altogether.
It was the mind that did not want it; this vital [the vital physical] when left to itself often wants illness, it finds it dramatic, thinks it makes it interesting to others, likes to indulge the tamas, etc., etc.
That [constant weakness of the body] also is tamas. If you throw off the idea of weakness, the strength would come back. But there is always something in the vital physical which is pleased with becoming more weak and ill so that it can feel and lament its tragic case.
By will to illness I meant this that there is something in the body that accepts the illness and has certain reactions that make this acceptance effective so there must always be a contrary will in the conscious parts of the being to get rid of this most physical acceptance.
What I meant was that the body consciousness through old habit of consciousness admits the force of illness and goes through the experiences which are associated with it e.g., congestion of phlegm in the chest and feeling of suffocation or difficulty of breathing, etc. To get rid of that one must awaken a will and consciousness in the body itself that refuses to allow these things to impose themselves upon it. But to get that, still more to get it completely is difficult. One step towards it is to get the inner consciousness separate from the body to feel that it is not you who are ill, but it is only something taking place in the body and affecting your consciousness. It is then possible to see this separate body consciousness, what it feels, what are its reactions to things, how it works. One can then act on it to change its consciousness and reactions.
As the body consciousness becomes more open to the Force (it is always the most difficult and the last to open up entirely), this frequent stress of illness will diminish and disappear.
All ill-health is due to some inertia or weakness or to some resistance or wrong movement there, only it has sometimes a more physical and sometimes a more psychological character. Medicines can counteract the physical results.
Illness marks some imperfection or weakness or else opening to adverse touches in the physical nature and is often connected also with some obscurity or disharmony in the lower vital or the physical mind or elsewhere.
It is very good if one can get rid of illness entirely by faith and yoga-power or the influx of the Divine Force. But very often this is not altogether possible, because the whole nature is not open or able to respond to the Force. The mind may have faith and respond, but the lower vital and the body may not follow. Or, if the mind and vital are ready, the body may not respond, or may respond only partially, because it has the habit of replying to the forces which produce a particular illness, and habit is a very obstinate force in the material part of the nature. In such cases the use of the physical means can be resorted to, not as the main means, but as a help or material support to the action of the Force. Not strong and violent remedies, but those that are beneficial without disturbing the body.
Yes, if the faith and opening are there, medicines are not indispensable.
The Mother's advice to X was given more for his period of stay in the Ashram than as an absolute rule for the future. If a sadhak can call down the force to cure him without need of medical treatment, that is always the best, but it is not always possible so long as the whole consciousness, mental, vital, physical down to the most subconscient is not open and awake. There is no harm in a doctor who is a sadhak carrying on his profession and using his medical knowledge; but he should do it in reliance on the Divine Grace and the Divine Will; if he can get true inspiration to aid his science, so much the better. No doctor can cure all cases. You are to do your best with the best result you can.
Certainly, one can act from within on an illness and cure it. Only it is not always easy as there is much resistance in Matter, a resistance of inertia. An untiring persistence is necessary; at first one may fail altogether or the symptoms increase, but gradually the control of the body or of a particular illness becomes stronger. Again, to cure an occasional attack of illness by inner means is comparatively easy, to make the body immune from it in future is more difficult. A chronic malady is harder to deal with, more reluctant to disappear entirely than an occasional disturbance of the body. So long as the control of the body is imperfect, there are all these and other imperfections and difficulties in the use of the inner force.
If you can succeed by the inner action in preventing increase, even that is something; you have then by abhyāsa to strengthen the power till it becomes able to cure. Note that so long as the power is not entirely there, some aid of physical means need not be altogether rejected.
To separate yourself from the thing and call in the Mother's Force to cure it or else to use your will force with faith in the power to heal, having the support of the Mother's Force behind you. If you cannot use either of these methods then you must rely on the action of the medicines.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter see here
Where the illness becomes pronounced and chronic in the body, it is necessary often to call in the aid of physical treatment and that is then used as a support of the Force. X in his treatment does not rely on medicines alone, but uses them as an instrumentation for the Mother's force.
Medicines are a pis aller that have to be used when something in the consciousness does not respond or responds superficially to the Force. Very often it is some part of the material consciousness that is unreceptive at other times it is the subconscient which stands in the way even when the whole waking mind, life, physical consent to the liberating influence. If the subconscient also answers, then even a slight touch of the Force can not only cure the particular illness but make that form or kind of illness practically impossible hereafter.
Not necessarily, but if there is a strong force of resistance behind the illness or if there is something hiding there it may come out under the pressure. This is not however the invariable rule. Often the result of the force is immediate and without reactions or there is an oscillation, but no aggravation or increase.
The suggestions that create illness or unhealthy conditions of the physical being come usually through the subconscient for a great part of the physical being, the most material part, is subconscient, i.e. to say, it has an obscure consciousness of its own but so obscure and shut up in itself that the mind does not know its movements or what is going on there. But all the same it is a consciousness and can receive suggestions from Forces outside, just as the mind and vital do. If it were not so, there would not be any possibility of opening it to the Force and the Force curing it; for without this consciousness in it it would not be able to respond. In Europe and America there are many people now who recognise this fact and treat their illnesses by making conscious mental suggestions to the body which counteract the obscure secret suggestions of illness in the subconscient. There was a famous Doctor in France who cured thousands of people by making them persistently put such counter-suggestions upon the body. That proves that illness has not a purely material cause, but is due to a disturbance of the secret consciousness in the body.
To bear quietly and in silence does help to release from the reaction of grief, if one makes the vital quiet; but it should be at the same time surrendered to the Mother. For the Mother to know from within is not enough; there must be this laying before her and giving up to her so that the reaction may disappear.
16.04.1938 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
The morphia stuns locally or otherwise the consciousness and its reaction to the subconscient pressure and so suspends the pain or deadens it. Even that it does not always do X took five morphia injections in succession without even diminishing his liver inflammation pains. What became of the power of the drug over the subconscient in that case? The resistance was too strong just as the resistance of Y's subconscient to the Force.
In much the same way as Couι's suggestion system cured most of his patients, only by a physical instead of a mental means. The body consciousness responds to the suggestion of the medicine and one gets cured for the time being or it doesn't respond and there is no cure. How is it that the same medicine for the same illness succeeds with one man and not with another or succeeds at one time with a man and afterwards doesn't succeed at all? Absolute cure of an illness so that it cannot return again depends on clearing the mind, the vital and body consciousness of the psychological response to the Force bringing the illness. Sometimes this is done by a sort of order from above (when the consciousness is ready, but it cannot always be done like that). The complete immunity from all illness for which our yoga tries can only come by a total and permanent enlightenment of the below from above resulting in the removal of the psychological roots of ill health it can't be done otherwise.
In the Letters on Yoga here were placed two fragments from one letter (as if they were different letters)
01.02.1937 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Why do people make such prognostications? Suggestions of the kind ought never to be made, mentally even – they might act like suggestions and do more harm than any good medicines can do.
But I am surprised to hear that even prognostications are very harmful.
Prognostications of such kind should not be lightly thought of or spoken especially in the case of the Mother – in other cases even if there is a possibility or probability they should be kept confidential from the person affected, unless it is necessary to inform. This is because of the large part played by state of consciousness and suggestion in illness. I shall I suppose one day send you the Presse Medicale with my note (the journal is with me and I shall send it to you, it is no longer with Pavitra) and that will perhaps show the basis.
I say – Dr. Hutchinson, President of the Royal Society of Medicine, – a Lord – says (vide “Sunday Times”, page 4) that if all the doctors struck work for a year, it would make no difference in the death rate. The doctor's only use is to give comfort, confidence and consolation. Now what do you say to this opinion of your President? Rather hot, isn't it?
It is not only hot, but a little top-heavy it seems. If the doctor's function is only to give consolation, I fear many patients visiting us will leave, cursing us.
It depends on the effectivity of your consoling words and confidence in giving drugs. Your words and cheery care may so boost X's morale that it will affect his piles and if it can't do altogether that, your medicines may give so much confidence to the piles that they will walk in and give up the ghost. But it is all a confidence trick in reality. If the piles are crass and refuse confidence, well –
I proposed to one patient this consolation treatment; he agreed. Then I asked him, “How is it then that your old malady has come back which was supposed to have been cured by the doctor?” He answered, “But one doctor may fail and, besides, there is the Force.” “Ah, you now bring in the Force!” Well?
Well, that's the point. How did X or how does anybody cure? By his medicines or by his “confidence” imparted to the subconscient of the patient?
The Force is another matter. Your President Hutchinson or Henderson (or what the deuce was his name?) wasn't thinking in terms of force.
Anyway, what is your opinion?
My opinion is that Allah is great and great is the mystery of the universe and things are not what they seem, etc.
The feeling of illness is at first only a suggestion; it becomes a reality because your physical consciousness accepts it. It is like a wrong suggestion in the mind, if the mind accepts it, it becomes clouded and confused and has to struggle back into harmony and clearness. It is so with the body consciousness and illness. You must not accept but reject it with your physical mind and so help the body consciousness to throw off the suggestion. If necessary, make a counter-suggestion No, I shall be well; I am and shall be all right. And in any case call in the Mother's Force to throw out the suggestion and the illness it is bringing.
By suggestion I do not mean merely thoughts or words. When the hypnotist says sleep, it is a suggestion; but when he says nothing, but only puts his silent will to convey sleep or makes movements of his hands over the face, that also is a suggestion.
When a force is thrown on you or a vibration of illness, it carries to the body this suggestion. A wave comes in the body with a certain vibration in it, the body remembers cold or feels the vibrations of a cold and begins to cough or sneeze or to feel chill the suggestion comes to the mind in the form I am weak, I don't feel well, I am catching a cold.
Hostile here means hostile to the yoga. An illness which comes in the ordinary course as the result of physical causes even though adverse universal forces are the first cause is an ordinary illness. One brought by the forces hostile to yoga to upset the system and prevent or disturb progress without any adequate physical reason is a hostile attack. It may have the appearance of a cold or any other illness, but to the eye which sees the action of forces and not only the outward symptoms or results, the difference is clear.
The suggestion of weakness comes to the subconscient part of the body consciousness and therefore the mind is most often unaware of it. If the body itself were truly conscious, then the suggestions could be detected in time and thrown off before they took effect. Also the rejection by the central consciousness would be supported by a conscious rejection in the body and act more immediately and promptly.
A suggestion is not one's own thought or feeling, but a thought or feeling that comes from outside, from others, from the general atmosphere or from external Nature, if it is received, it sticks and acts on the being and is taken to be one's own thought or feeling. If it is recognised as a suggestion, then it can be more easily got rid of. This feeling of doubt and self-distrust and hopelessness about oneself is a thing moving about in the atmosphere and trying to enter into people and be accepted; I want you to reject it, for its presence not only produces trouble and distress but stands in the way of restoration of health and return to the inner activity of the sadhana.
As for medical treatment it is sometimes a necessity. If one can cure by the Force as you have often done it is the best but if for some reason the body is not able to respond to the Force (e.g. owing to doubt, lassitude or discouragement or for inability to react against the disease), then the aid of medical treatment becomes necessary. It is not that the Force ceases to act and leaves all to the medicines, it will continue to act through the consciousness but take the support of the treatment so as to act directly on the resistance in the body, which responds more readily to physical means in its ordinary consciousness.
These are waves of the hostile force which come trying whom they can touch. When you feel an attack of this kind, you must realise that this comes on you from outside and touches some weak point in you, and you have to remain as quiet as you can, reject it and open yourself. I judge from what you have written that it was the physical and vital-physical consciousness that it made restless and inclined to revolt and it did not take the whole of your consciousness. If you can keep it localised like that when it comes and remain quiet in mind and heart and reject it, then it will not be so difficult to throw it out. The peace and force must be called down into this vital-physical (nervous) part and the whole body until you feel the atmosphere and force pervading you and in you always in all the body and not only upon or around you. If you still find a difficulty, it is because of the past habit of reaction in the nervous being and a certain weakness there; but persevere, do not consent to the invasion of the old forces. The habit will lessen and disappear and the true Force occupying the body will remove the weakness.
It is the crude vital-physical that returns upon you in this way and these returns must be the cause of all the feelings of illness, weakness, tamas that you get. A purification of this part by the descent of the higher consciousness into it is a very great necessity for your sadhana.
There are two places into which it (the crude vital-physical) can retire the subconscient vital below or the environmental consciousness around. When it returns, it surges up from below, if it is the former, or approaches and invades from outside, if it is the latter.
There is no mystery. These things were violent and obstinate in you for a long time and you were indulging them hence they acquired a great force to return even after you began rejecting them, first because of habit, secondly because of their belief that they have acquired a right over you, thirdly because of the habit of assent and passive response to them or endurance of them that has been stamped on the physical consciousness. This physical consciousness is not as yet liberated, it has not begun to be as responsive to the higher force as the vital, so it cannot resist their invasion. So these forces, when thrown out, retreat into the environmental consciousness and remain there concealed and at any opportunity make an attack on the centres accustomed to receive them (external mind and the external emotional) and get in. This happens with most sadhaks. Two things are necessary (1) to open fully the physical to the higher forces, (2) to reach the stage when even if the forces attack they cannot come fully in, the inner being remaining calm and free. Then even if there is still a surface difficulty, there will not be these overpowerings.
All these suggestions that came to you were of course part of the attack on the physical consciousness, the attack on the body is used to raise these ideas and ideas are used to make it more difficult for the body to recover. At a certain stage attacks fall heavily on the body because the opposing forces find it more difficult than before to upset the mind and vital directly, so they fall on the physical in the hope that that will do the trick, the physical being more vulnerable. But the sensibility of the body to attacks is no proof of incapacity, just as a finer sensibility of the mind or vital to attacks was no proof it can, in due time, be overcome. As for the feelings about the Mother and that her love is only given for a return in work or to those who can do sadhana well, that is the usual senseless idea of the vital-physical mind and has no value.
There is nothing wrong in taking care of the body in regard to health and, if the liver has gone wrong, the instinct to refuse too sweet or greasy or heavy food is a right instinct. Mother has no objection to your abstaining while the illness is there nor has she insisted on your taking dal. Her objection is only to that which people often do, getting ideas about this food and that food and abstaining even when there is no acute illness. During an acute state of bad liver, abstaining is often necessary. Only one must not create by wrong ideas a nervous incapacity of the stomach or a chronic nervous dyspepsia. She had no other meaning.
I hope you will be all right soon. If the body does not right itself, you must keep me informed from time to time.
There seem to be two elements in the physical difficulty that is weighing on you. The first is the liver trouble which weakens and must weaken still more if it leads you to diminish your food below what the body needs for maintaining sufficient strength to react also probably the nervous tendency to insomnia with its consequences. The second is an inertia of the lower vital and physical consciousness which prevents it from throwing off the lassitude, from reacting against the attacks and from opening steadily to the Force which would remove these things. All that is due to the breakdown of the poise that you had for so long, the vital trouble that caused it and the reaction of the lower vital to the insistence on throwing out the causes of the trouble. This reaction seems to have been a restlessness at losing the things to which it was still holding such a reaction always brings the inertia of the physical consciousness, while the right reaction in the lower vital, on the contrary, brings a sense of peace, release, quietude which definitely opens the lowest physical parts to the higher consciousness and force. If you can get over this and get back the old poise, then all these things can be made to disappear.
Care should be taken of the body certainly, the care that is needed for its good condition, rest, sleep, proper food, sufficient exercise; what is not good is too much preoccupation with it, anxiety, despondency in the illness, etc., for these things only favour the prolongation of ill-health or weakness. For such things as the liver attacks treatment can always be taken when necessary.
But it is always the right inner poise, quietude inward and outward, faith, the opening of the body consciousness to the Mother and her Force that are the true means of recovery other things can only be minor aids and devices.
What has caused all the trouble for X is his insistence on his ego, its ideas, claims, desires, intentions and his aggressiveness in expressing them so that he quarrels with everybody. This quarrelsomeness opens him to all sorts of forces of the vital plane and their attacks. It is also the cause of the damage done to the liver and organs of digestion for quarrelsomeness and anger always lead to spoil the liver and through it the stomach and intestines. As his quarrelsomeness is colossal, so also is the damage done to the liver and digestion extreme. He must get rid of his egoism, quarrelsomeness and bad feelings towards others, if he wants to recover his health and his sadhana.
It is a great gain if you feel no depression when the attack on the body comes.
The pain itself is, from your description, evidently nervous and, if you develop openness in the more physical layers of the being, then the action of the Force can always remove it or you will yourself be able to use the Force to push it away. It is a matter of getting the habit of opening in the body consciousness.
The consciousness or unconsciousness, as you have seen in the matter of the French studies, is dependent on the condition. It is not that you are unconscious, but that the physical being is prone to the tamasic condition (the condition of inertia) and then it becomes either inactive or obscure, stupid and unconscious; when the tamas goes away the condition becomes bright and what was difficult before becomes natural and easy. The whole thing is to get the physical out of its habit of falling back into tamas or inertia, and that can be done by opening and accustoming it to the action of the Force. When the action of the Force becomes constant, then there will be no more tamas.
It is not anything physical but a vital depression (or some part of the vital, not the whole) that prevents the body from recovering its elasticity. There was some part of the vital that was resisting a radical change and even unknown to your mind trying to go on as it was under cover of the change in the rest of your being. This has now, owing to this last affair, received a blow and got depressed and, when the vital is depressed like that it affects the body. You say rightly that it is part of a change or turn that is taking place. But these effects of inertia and weakness ought not to continue; as soon as the vital part acquiesces gladly in the turn or change the elasticity and energy will return.
The pains in the body come from the same source as the trouble in the vital nature; both are attacks from the same outside force that wants to mislead or, when it cannot mislead, to trouble and disturb you. When once you can get rid of the vital invasion and prevent its recurrence, it will be easier to get rid too of the physical trouble whose origin is nervous (vital-physical); although its symptoms seem to be those of a physical illness, it is usually an attack on the nervous part and weakening of it for the time that gives you the pain.
Remain always quiet and persist in opening yourself. The Force that releases you from the vital trouble can also remove the disturbance in the nervous part and the physical body.
That is what they [pains] do at first; when one drives them out of one place, they go to another. It is better than their fixing in any place.
It is neither the vital nor the body that contains these illnesses it is a force from outside that creates these, and the nervous being (physical vital) and the body respond from habit or inability to throw it away. It is always better not to say I will now have no more illness; it attracts the attention of these malevolent powers and they immediately want to prove that they can still disturb the body. Simply when they come, reject them.
It is by an attack on your physical consciousness that the old forces are bringing back the wrong condition. As you got the power before to stand back from the vital movement and localise it, while the rest of your consciousness observed and was not overpowered, so you must learn to stand back from the physical pain or uneasiness and localise it. If you can do that and do it completely, the pain or uneasiness itself will be more easily and quietly removed and you will not be overpowered like this with the sense of weakness. You can see that the Force has the power to take away the pains; but you allow yourself to be nervously overcome and therefore it is difficult for it to act with a continuous result. What was done at that time in the vital, must be done in the physical also. It is the only way to get free from the attacks.
You must arrive at a complete separation of your consciousness from these feelings of the body and its acceptance of illness and from that separated consciousness act upon the body. It is only so that these things can be got rid of or at least neutralised.
If it [the consciousness] is separate it should not suffer from them [the pains]. Even for the pains, the body may suffer but the consciousness should not feel itself suffering or overpowered.
Pain is caused because the physical consciousness in the Ignorance is too limited to bear the touches that come upon it. Otherwise, to cosmic consciousness in its state of complete knowledge and complete experience all touches come as Ananda.
To bear extreme heat and cold it is necessary to have peace in the cells first, then consolidated force. Pain and discomfort come from a physical consciousness not forceful enough to determine its own reactions to things.
The body, naturally [experiences physical pain] but the body transmits it to the vital and mental. With the ordinary consciousness the vital gets disturbed and afflicted and its forces diminished, the mind identifies and is upset. The mind has to remain unmoved, the vital unaffected, and the body has to learn to take it with equality so that the higher Force may work.
The Self is never affected by any kind of pain. The psychic takes it quietly and offers it to the Divine for what is necessary to be done.
It is a detachment of even the physical mind from the pain that makes one able to go on as if nothing were there but this detachment of the physical mind is not so easy to acquire.
The main difficulty seems to be that you are too subject to an excitement of the nerves it is only by bringing quietude and calm into the whole being that a steady progress in the sadhana can be assured.
The first thing to be done in order to recover is to stop yielding to the attack of the nerves the more you yield and identify yourself with these ideas and feelings, the more they increase. You have to draw back and find back something in you that is not affected by pains and depressions, then from there you can get rid of the pains and depressions.
If you listen to what others say and base your action on satisfying their ideas, how will you keep the right attitude which can alone support you in work? It is for the Mother that you have to work, to find her in yourself through work, not to protect yourself from the criticism of others.
I am glad to know the disturbance was expelled last night now the receptivity of the body consciousness has to be kept so that it may not at all return or, if it tries, may immediately be expelled. You must always try to keep the quietude, not allow depressing or disturbing thoughts or feelings to enter you or take hold of your mind or your speech there is no true reason after one has gained the inner quietness and wideness why that should be allowed to lapse and these things enter. And if the mind keeps its quietude and receptivity to higher forces only, it can then easily pass on that quietude and receptivity to the body consciousness and even to the material cells of the body.
Whatever it may be the power of illness to prevent the sadhana ought not to exist. The yogic consciousness and its activities must be there whether there is health or illness.
It is no use stopping work because of rheumatism (unless it is of the kind that disables one from working) it only makes things worse.
You had opened your consciousness, so the pain disappeared. If it came back during the sleep, it must have been because you lost touch and fell back into the ordinary consciousness. That often happens.
Yes. If you don't sleep enough the physical system becomes more open to these attacks [of illness]. If it is kept in good condition, then usually it repels them automatically and one does not notice even that there has been an attack.
I said that when the body is in good condition it automatically repels any attack of illness which is in the air without the mind even having to notice that there is an attack. If the attack is automatically repelled what is the need of dealing with it?
It is a hostile pressure that is organising a habit in the body of recurrence at a fixed time or times. This habit of fixed recurrence gives a great force for any illness to persist, as the body consciousness expects the recurrence and the expectation helps it to come.
It is this expectation in the mind that helps most to maintain the rhythm of the attack. If it could be got rid of, the rhythm also could be broken.
I don't think stammering has anything to do with insufficient lung-power nor is it caused by malformation of the vocal organs it is commonly a nervous (physico-nervous) impediment and is perfectly curable. I can't say that I know of any especial device for it people have used various kinds of devices to get over it, but behind them all will-power and a patient discipline of the utterance are indispensable.
You have to be careful about your eyes. Reading by night (too much) is undesirable. There are two suggestions of the sun-treatment man which I have found to be not without foundation. First, one should blink freely in looking at things or reading and not fix the eyes or stare. Secondly, palming gives a very useful rest palming means keeping the hands crossed over the closed eyes (without pressing on the eyes) so as to shut out all light.
What you describe happens very usually during a cold in the head, as ordinarily one depends upon the brain cells for the transmission of the mental thought. When the mind is not so dependent on the brain cells, then the obscuration by the cold does not interfere with clear seeing and thinking and one is not thrown back in the mechanical mind.
Fever is of course more often than not a struggle of the body to fight out impurities that have got in, but sometimes the remedy is as bad if not worse than the disease. It is the same with the difficulties an illness sometimes results in a throwing out of some impurities but it can also do more harm than good.
[After an attack of influenza:] The first thing to do is to keep throughout a perfect equanimity and not to allow thoughts of disturbed anxiety or depression to enter you. It is quite natural after this severe attack of influenza that there should be weakness and some fluctuations in the progress to recovery. What you have to do is to remain calm and confident and not worry or be restless be perfectly quiet and prepared to rest as long as rest is needed. There is nothing to be anxious about; rest, and the health and strength will come.
Sciatica is something more than nervous it affects the movement of the muscles through the nerves. It can be got rid of at once, however, if you can manage to direct the Force on it.
There is no outer means. Sciatica is a thing which yields only to inner concentrated force or else it goes away of itself and comes of itself. Outer means at best can only be palliatives.
The inertia is there because there was always in your outer being a great force of tamas and it is this that is being used by the resistance. There was also a deficiency of steady will power in the outer mind which makes it more difficult for the Force to come down than for the Knowledge. When you are entirely open the Force can act on the sciatica and it lessens or disappears, but with the consciousness blocked by the inertia these difficulties come in the way.
We have always found that it [sciatica] cannot resist the force quietly and persistently applied. Other illnesses can resist, but sciatica being entirely tamasic cannot. The application of Force does not yet, probably, come natural to you, so it brings a sense of struggle not of quiet domination, hence the restlessness etc.
If you cannot get rid of the sciatica by inner means, the medical remedy (not for curing it, but for keeping free as long as possible) is not to fatigue yourself. It comes for periods which may last for weeks, then suddenly goes. If you remain quiet physically and are not too active, it may not come for a long time. But that of course means an inactive life, physically incapable. It is what I mean by eternising the sciatica and the inertia also.
T.B. is the result of a strong psychic-vital depression. Sex cannot directly cause T.B. though it may be a factor in bringing about a fall of the vital forces and a withdrawal of the psychic supporting forces leading to T.B. The lack of vitality which easily comes as a result of modern civilisation is therefore a very strong contributing cause. Moderns have not the solid nervous system and the natural (as opposed to the artificial and morbid) zest of life that their ancestors had. But I don't know about the soldiers the hideous trench war with all its ghastly circumstances and surroundings was, I imagine, far more difficult to bear than the open air marching and fighting of the Napoleonic times.
According to all statements the deaths in early age are much less in Europe and men live longer on the whole. But certain diseases have greatly increased in spite of the advance in hygiene influenza, T.B. and venereals. There are also new diseases coming in that hardly existed before. That seems obviously the work of the Hostiles.
11.10.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I think it is advisable to remove B.P. from the Dining Room, and give him a separate work.
I hear he has automatically stopped.
That will obviate the danger of contagion, but what about the other trouble, the sore on which you kept quiet? Am I to take it that by Yoga it may be cured? I remember Mother once saying that there is hardly a disease that can't be cured by Yoga. Can cancer, the deadly enemy of present civilisation, be cured?
Of course it can, but on condition of faith or openness or both. Even a mental suggestion can cure cancer – with luck, of course, as is shown by the case of the woman operated on unsuccessfully for cancer, but the doctors lied and told her it had succeeded. Result, cancer symptoms all ceased and she died many years afterwards of another illness altogether.
However, if you can cure B.P. that way, it would be very good. Only, I think it would require a great development of consciousness and an opening, which he hasn't yet got.
Quite so. No passage.
Tomorrow I'll take him to the hospital as he has developed some ear trouble. I'll get his blood also examined there.
Right you are.
12.04.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Z's error of refraction though very slight may account for the headache. Is he, by any chance, given to any malpractice? I heard that he was passing through some lower vital trouble. If he does that it will be the worse for him.
Unluckily even the knowledge of that “worse” doesn't stop people from malpractices.
I think (?) it is that largely. Is it possible for you to give him some medical knowledge hinting darkly at least and speaking of the ill effects on nerves and eyes? He does not want to wear glasses, so that fear might act as a check.
I don't need to be a practitioner any more... When the Supermind descends, our knowledge of it will do everything correctly without any scientific knowledge of the disease!
What a lazy lot the Supramentals will be!
I keenly realise that I have no scientific element in me, I can't be a good doctor.
Medicine is not exactly science. It is theory + experimental fumbling + luck.
Perhaps you will console me by saying, “Never mind, have faith.” Well, then why should I study all these diseases or go to the hospital? can't I leave all that to Yogic force?
Yogic force is all right when one is in a Yogic condition, and when it acts. But when it does not, medicine is handy.
...Will these quarrels and lamentations go on for ever, or will your fight end in the near future? People say there is one century, if not more, for the Supramental to descend!
One day, one week, one month, one year, one decade, one century, one millennium, one light year – all is possible. Then why do people choose one century?
One material point. Can you sanction 3 pice worth of milk from the dairy, for an afternoon cup of tea?
Very revolutionary and hair-raising proposal, but you can do it and risk the loss of hair.
25.10.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
B.P. needs many injections out of which only 2 have been given.
By the way B.P. is said to be going to the reading room. Is that permissible? People may get nervous if he does that.
By the way, what do you think of Prof. R and his immortal homeopathic treatment? I had some respect for the man without knowing much about him, but when I saw what you wrote to Sarat – that R doesn't believe in allopathy at all and considers it almost quackery, I said – a man apparently with sense, having such insensible notions!
But there are and have been plenty with sense who have held that view about allopathy (and homeopathy also and all medicine). What about Moliθre? A man of sense, if ever there was one!
But our allopathic medicine is a science developed by painstaking labour – experiments, researches, etc.
To a certain extent. The theory is imposing, but when it comes to application, there is too much fumbling and guesswork for it to rank as an exact science. There are many scientists (and others) who grunt when they hear medicine called a science. Anatomy and physiology, of course, are sciences.
I don't decry his homeopathy, and I dare say there are very potent drugs which we don't have...
There are plenty of allopathic doctors who consider homeopathy, Nature-cure, Ayurveda and everything else that is not orthodox “medical science” to be quackery. Why should not homeopaths etc. return the compliment?
Let me quote one or two glaring instances of his ignorance: I) He said to X that the thyroid gland is at the back of the neck.
I think there are many homeopaths who don't know anatomy at all. I don't think there is any such thing as a homeopathic surgeon.
Poor X was thunder struck. He almost came to believe it and consulted the Anatomy book!
It does not seem to have destroyed his faith in R. He has demanded “no rice” on full moon and new moon days, to Dyuman's and Mother's great perplexity. I had to tell the Mother, about the Indian “moon” superstition.
2) After trying this and that for X's hydrocele which isn't so by his diagnosis, he applied strong irritants causing inflammation and ulceration, and gave some internal medicines to stop these poisoning symptoms.
His theory is that homeopathy first brings out the disease, then kills it. Something like Yoga, what? i.e. you have to become conscious of things inside you and then remove them. I never heard such a theory before, though from any homeopath.
The latest development is retrenchment of bananas and no rice on new moon and full moon days! Science or witchery?
No. Not witchery nor science, but I suppose the common Indian idea. But don't doctors often make recommendations which are quite as absurd?
3) About A.B. I hear, R has stopped his sun-treatment which caused him headache. R traced the headache to his hot water bath and admonished him to use cold water... And fancy calling my science quackery! But who knows you are not enamoured of his – pathy! I wish I could transfer all my patients to him, and enjoy heavenly freedom, closing my branch.
I don't know anything about R's homeopathic knowledge or capacities. There is an enormous amount of self-assertion, bluff and fantasia in him. But sometimes he seems to be remarkably effective. It is perhaps however due to a great power of suggestion or, if you like to call it so, induced auto-suggestion. But many doctors say it is more the confidence in the doctor and the medicine that cures than either the doctor himself or the medicine. All this is meant not to support R, but to throw some cold water on the “my” in “my science”. It sounds like Mussolini almost.
Injections are all the fashion; for everything it is inject, inject and again inject. Medicine has gone through three stages in modern times first (at the beginning in Molière's days) it was bleed and douche then drug and diet now it is serum and injection. Praise the Lord! not for the illnesses, but for the doctors. However, each of these formulas has a part truth behind it with its advantages and disadvantages. As all religions and philosophies point to the Supreme but each in a different direction, so all medical fashions are ways to health though they don't always reach it.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I see there is something in his treatment and medical ideas which is out of the ordinary and cannot be gauged by traditional standards. I am trying to see what it is. Is it that he has an intuition into psycho-physical forces and throws his drugs at them in a successful way, partly intuitional, partly experimental, while his physical renderings of them (attempts at diagnosis) are mere facade or error except when they happen to be right? It may be, but that sounds too easy and plausible an explanation to be true.
You may say what you like about the homeopathic theories, but I have seen X work them out detail by detail in cases where he had free and unhampered action and the confidence of the patients and their strict obedience and have seen the results correspond to his statements and his predictions based on them fulfilled not only to the very letter but according to the exact times fixed, not according to X's reports but according to the long detailed and precise reports of the allopathic doctor in attendance. After that I refuse to believe, even if all the allopaths shout in unison, that homeopathic theory or X's interpretation and application of it are mere rubbish and nonsense. As to mistakes all doctors make mistakes and very bad ones and kill as well as cure.... One theory is as good as another and as bad according to the application made of it in any particular case. But it is something else behind that decides the issue.
Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I have put down a few comments to throw cold water on all this blazing hot allopathism. But all these furious disputes seem to me now of little use. I have seen the working of both the systems [allopathy and homeopathy] and of others and I can't believe in the sole truth of any. The ones damnable in the orthodox view, entirely contradicting it, have their own truth and succeed also both the orthodox and heterodox fail. A theory is only a constructed idea-script which represents an imperfect human observation of a line of processes that Nature follows or can follow; another theory is a different idea-script of other processes that also she follows or can follow. Allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, Kaviraji, Hakimi have all caught hold of Nature and subjected her to certain processes; each has its successes and failures. Let each do its work in its own way. I do not see any need for fights and recriminations. For me all are only outward means and what really works are unseen forces from behind; as they act, the outer means succeed or fail if one can make the process a right channel for the right force, then the process gets its full vitality that's all.
05.01.1936 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
I had a look at J's rashes and eczema with your questionnaire on it. Since our treatment is only symptomatic I wonder if we can try R.
I am not very enthusiastic about this idea. R demands an implicit obedience from his patients which J would not give – and they would certainly clash very soon. There are other reasons also.
When a medicine is a specific, it is scientifically supposed to be active on one particular disease and therefore quite successful; for instance emetine in dysentery and quinine in malaria. But you don't give your approval even though these medicines are specifics in these particular diseases.
It is not enough for a medicine to be a specific. Certain drugs have other effects or possible effects which can be ignored by the physician who only wants to cure his case, but cannot be in a whole view of the system and its reactions. The unfavourable reactions of quinine are admitted by medical opinion itself and doctors in Europe have been long searching for a substitute for quinine.
Z complains of vomiting, giddiness etc. I'm afraid these three Punjabi brothers and-sister are rather – I mean physically.
Very bad health, all of them. The “stalwart Panjabi” is not much in evidence. One of the type who came could not progress. Another was tall but thin and ill. These –
I send a poem retouched by Nishikanta. Do put a few of your comments against the lines or expressions which are not quite right.
That is beyond me. I can only give my personal impression which amounts to “I like it exceeding well”.
28.12.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
While crushing my rigid mind, do you want to establish the long-neglected and much-maligned merits of homeopathy as beyond all dispute and, harangue by allopaths?
Not at all. I don't care a penny for homeopathy (or allopathy). I only wanted to poke some jokes at your allopathic mind.
My attack is against two things: R's efficiency and capacity as a doctor; and the rationale of homeopathy on symptomatology alone.
If you question that, you destroy homeopathy altogether.
I asked R about his patient G: “Is there no thickening of the blood vessels, high blood-pressure, no dyspnoea, etc.?” He said, “None at all.” Yet Dr. Prasad Rao found all these and signs of heart-failure.
You went when G had a setback. R had written to me about headache, liver and some other difficulties before you went.
Dr. Rao further said that the patient was still in the danger zone. Any exertion, indiscretion might bring about another attack.
But it seems Valle has different ideas; he does not find G in a dangerous state or on the point of death, as he was before. Admitting P.R.'s infallibility, is Valle then a fool? Why does he give credit to R or keep him there? If R is such an incompetent ass, why does V support him, cover him, keep him there? This is a thing which seems to me a little unintelligible. Doctors differ? Why so much in this case? Valle who does not believe in Divine Force, is I think, the only doctor here who has a practical knowledge of homeopathy – he was struck with the justice of R's treatment from the first in S's case; he approves of his treatment in G's. Would he do so if R were merely a blundering ignoramus?
R gives a high blood-pressure patient on the verge of heart failure “moderate” licence in eating, drinking, etc. He calls it “leaving to Nature”!
Well, I have followed that system with myself and others and gone on the basis that Nature is very largely what you make of her – or can make of her.
Since his heart, kidney cannot be regenerated, his habits have therefore to be adjusted accordingly. He can't remain a “bon vivant” any more.
In that case isn't it better that G should die? What's the use of life under such conditions?
If R is concerned only with symptoms, why does he ask me to find out the significance of high blood-pressure etc. or ask Valle to build up a diet for G?
Because he found you very competent at it. As for the diet he had to cede something to Valle so that the family might see there was a necessary collaboration.
... People will acclaim that allopathy has failed and homeopathy has succeeded. But my point is that Valle, an allopath, would have been as successful as R if he had the backing of your Force.
The Force needs an instrument and an instrumentation also sometimes. The instrument was R, the instrumentation partly at least his drugs. I don't believe in the story of the inefficiency of homeopathic drugs only because they are homeopathic. Also, I don't believe that R knows nothing about them and can't properly apply them. I have noted almost constantly that they have a surprising effect, sometimes instantaneous, sometimes rapid, and this not in R's evidence alone, but in the statement of his patients and the visible results. Not being an allopathic doctor, I can't ignore a fact like that.
I quote to you an instance of the symptomatic riddle. Some symptoms like headache, vomiting etc. may be caused by many diseases such as brain-tumour, syphilis, blood pressure and others. If you tell me that a homeopathic medicine for headache and other symptoms will be a panacea for all of them then I am afraid it will be difficult for me to accept it.
Tumour, syphilis etc. are specialities, but what I have found in my psycho-physical experience is that most disorders of the body are connected, though they go by families, – but there is also connection between the families. If one can strike at their psycho-physical root, one can cure even without knowing the pathological whole of the matter and working through the symptoms is a possibility. Some medicines invented by demi-mystics have this power. What I am now considering is whether homeopathy has any psycho-physical basis. Was the founder a demi-mystic? I don't understand otherwise certain peculiarities of the way R's medicines act.
Now the diagnosis, about which you have joked. Why take a muddle as an instance and ignore other cases? I should say that a mistaken diagnosis of the appendix, far example, is very rare.
Good heavens! It happened in scores and scores of cases when there was the appendicitis mania among doctors in France – and they have other manias also.
Why ignore wonderful things due to thousands of right diagnoses and let sporadic cases of error loom large in your eyes?
Sporadic cases! I have heard of any number of them; they are as plentiful as blackberries in Europe. And as for difference of diagnosis it is almost the rule except when doctors consult together and give concessions to each other. Don't try to throw allopathic dust in my eyes, sir! I have lived a fairly long time and seen something of the world before my retirement and much more after it.
We know only a few big cases of success of R, but how many of his failures do we know? In the Ashram itself Rajangam is one. I saw R's most furious letter to you, on Rajangam's lack of faith.
But I have Rajangam's letters also. He seems to have had a curious mixture of superstitious hope and strong doubt, especially as R bungled badly at one point. However the body of an allopathic doctor can't be expected to respond to a homeopathic fellow, can it?
Then I hear he has failed in L's case also.
If L's case failed, then L in her letters lied to me. She related a complete cure of all that she had been suffering from for dreary months and years in which she was writing blood-curdling letters to me relating all her symptoms and miseries in voluminous detail. Once feeling well, she declared she did not believe in treatment but in Divine Force only, gave R a kick and sent him away. He was of course furious. For some time I had no letters, then little by little they began again, but as yet they are not so blood-curdling as before. Question: If D.F. alone does it without drugs, why is not L cured now as she was then under R?
I don't know of the other miraculous cures, nor do I know what rational grounds he has put forward for S's taking Ashram food.
Rational, from the point of view of his experience only – not from allopathic pathology.
I think an allopath like M would be able to cure many people just as R has done – and also without some of R's mistakes.
M has an admirable knowledge and masterful movement in his treatments, but Mother finds that he is an overdrugger. He pours drugs on his patients as some painters overload their canvas with colour. He almost killed himself in this way, and we had all the trouble in the world to tone him down. He admitted it frankly, but since professional bias was too strong for him, when he fell ill, he could not help drugging and drugging.
Now about K's case. R boasts that it is not his principle to make a diagnosis, but to prove a cure and you ask me what I say to that. Well, R proclaimed after hearing the symptoms that it was a case of vicarious menstruation, even after seeing the blood-vomit which is characteristic of T.B. I call it bluff, Sir. Let him stick to his sacred principle and not bluff us with his queer vicarious animal! Dr. Voile who has a big experience to his credit has clearly pronounced it to be T.B. And why vicarious, pray? because she was having some menstrual troubles? But her last period was quite normal. And what about her past history of cough, pain in the chest, blood-vomit?
K's case may be T.B., though Valle dragged in a “vraisemblablement”8 and X-Ray is required – very probably it is, though I am not quite sure. R swears that ordinary doctors who have not had sufficient gynaecological experience can and do take V.M. for T.B. It does not follow that it is so in this case and his statement may be all bluff... Now if we look beyond pathology to what I may call psycho-pathology (non-allopathic, non-homeopathic), this hysteria is usually accompanied with some disorder of the genital parts; wrong menstruation is itself often due to sexual trouble. T.B. again is always (psychologically) due to a psychic depression – I use psychic in the ordinary, not the Yogic sense; this psychic depression may arise from sex-frustration of one kind or another or from some reaction of the sexual order. So if R is wrong in suspecting V.M., psychologically he may be right – there may be, not vicarious menstruation, but its psychological equivalent. All that may no doubt be Greek (not medical Greek) to you, but I know what I mean – and so long as that is there, the cure of the T.B. by D.F.9 is rather problematical. In X's case I saw at once that nothing could be done. That is why R got his chance. The allopaths could have cured the T.B., but it would have come back worse than before. However he is so disgusted with the storm of opposition raised against him that he seems inclined to throw up the cases and even (other things aiding) to leave the Ashram. If so, all will be peace in Jerusalem, S will go back with his liver into orthodox hands, G fulfil his allopathic destiny and an interesting phase will be over.
“I don't care about all that,” he will say. “I will prove by my cure.” If one is dealing with a case of T.B. or of heart-disease, I assert that some knowledge of pathology is necessary so that one can understand how far other organs have been involved. R would be quite ignorant of it and therefore can't treat the case effectively whereas an allopathic-homeopath would be in a better position...
But the allopaths can? Then how the devil do non-allopathic homeopaths (R is not the only example) succeed at all in their pathological cases? They do, you know, and that needs some explaining. Actually, apart from anti-allopathic jokes and speculations, I don't say anything. I am not in the habit of jumping at conclusions when there are many possibles without a complete certitude, but wait till knowledge comes. I do not believe that D.F. has done everything in all these cases and they would have been ameliorated equally well if anybody else had been there. I count R for a remarkable though too resonant instrument. I see there is something in his treatment and medical ideas which is out of the ordinary and cannot be gauged by traditional standards. I am trying to see what it is. Is it that he has an intuition into psycho-physical forces and throws his drugs at them in a successful way, partly intuitional, partly experimental, while his physical renderings of them (attempts at diagnoses) are mere facade or error – except when they happen to be right? It may be, but that sounds too easy and plausible an explanation to be true.
You are very much behind the times. Do you not know that even many doctors now admit and write it publicly that medicines are an element but only one and that the psychological element counts as much and even more? I have heard that from doctors often and read it over reputable medical signatures. And among the psychological elements, they say, one of the most important is the doctor's optimism and self-confidence, (his faith, what? it is only another word for the same thing) and the confidence, hope, helpful mental atmosphere he can inspire in or around his patient. I have seen it stated categorically that a doctor who can do that is far more successful than one who knows Medicine better but cannot. I did not mean that it cannot be done without medicines. But if it is to be done with the aid of medicines, then the right medicine is helpful, the wrong one obviously brings in a danger. How does his knowledge prevent intuition? Even an allopathic doctor has often to intuit what medicine he should give or what mixture – and it is those who intuit best that succeed best. All is not done by sole rule of book or sole rule of thumb even in orthodox Science.
What an absurd statement! Self-confidence is an inborn thing; it does not rest on knowledge and experience.... Who says that? I never heard that Napoleon failed at Waterloo for want of self-confidence. I have always read that he failed because he was, owing to his recent malady, no longer so quick and self-confident in decision and so supple in mental resource as before. Please don't write history unless you have data for your novel version.
25.12.1935 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Guru, I hope this letter will catch you before you start for the Supramental sleep!
At about 5 a.m. I was called by P as K was having blood vomiting. R was also there with his medicine. Seeing K's vomiting, I had the impression that it was from the lungs. An examination led me to suspect apex of rt. lung. I don't know what R things about it; but at first sight he said it was vicarious menstruation. Anyway he gave her medicines. The bout subsided and she slept quite peacefully. Then again she had blood-vomiting. According to his treatment, food and nourishment have to be given. R told me that he will write to you and give her charge to me as he is busy with many other cases, and his temporary treatment won't clash with mine.
I don't know what to do now. I am at Thy service, Sir.
If you and R don't agree as to diagnosis, it is better to send for a third person, (Dr. Valle is indicated, I suppose), to consult and advise. It is necessary to know what she has. We are informed that K had this once in Gujarat. You can ask P about this and, if it is correct, find out what was the diagnosis and treatment.
I suppose in any case (if it is lung trouble, also) food and nourishment have to be given and it is only if it is liver or stomach that it would be otherwise?
By “allopathic-homeopath”, I meant a homeopath having studied allopathy who will have a very sound basis in Medicine. All homeopathy schools are now teaching pathology, etc...
They may all study pathology, but I don't think they all bind themselves to the same conclusions as the allopaths. If they did, they would not be able to have an entirely opposite system.
I don't deny that personality is a big factor though I don't know exactly whether hope, faith, etc., operate physically more or bring some occult forces into the field.
You have only to admit that the mind and vital can influence the body – then no difficulty is left. In this action of mind and vital on the body faith and hope have an immense importance. I do not at all mean that they are omnipotent or infallibly effective – that is not so. But they assist the action of any force that can be applied, even of an apparently purely material force like medicine. In fact however there is no such thing as a purely material force, but the action may be purely material when it is a question of material objects. But in things that have life or mind and life one cannot isolate the material operation like that. There is always a play of other forces mixed with it in the reception at least and for the most part in the inception and direction also.
I don't understand why I came into this world with doubts and Co. whereas others did so with self-confidence. Why some people go on patiently and honestly and still end their days in misery, whereas frauds etc. flourish so well! I would say Kismet. You may say blessed Karma – it is only another name.
Well, the frauds are capable and clever in their fraudulency, I suppose. And why should not capacity have its results? The others are only moral and the reward of morality is not worldly success but the satisfaction of a conscience at rest. Virtue is its own reward – it can't ask for success in life also!! What would the poor frauds do if having the torments of a bad conscience (?) they had no success to soothe their tortures?
Karma is not luck, it is the transmission of past energies into the present with their results.
Do you hope that a “blue moon” will ever rise in my heavens?...
I trust that a blue moon will rise in everybody's heaven who has on one side the patience to go through and on the other no fundamental and self-expulsive wickedness in his nature. Even for these others the blue moon will rise one day, though later, – if they have once sought for it.
Even if it does, I would prefer your “blue moon” letters dilating a little the last para regarding mediumship and medical aspects – if you can.
Well, we'll see.
30.03.1937 ▪ Nirodbaran ▪ Full text of the letter
Miracles can be done, but there is no reason why they should be all instantaneous, whether from Gods or doctors.
These things are a matter of evidence and the evidence for Couι's success is overwhelming. There have also been many great healers (guιrisseurs) all over the world whose successes are well-attested. Faith-healing and psycho-therapy are also facts.
These auto-suggestions it is really faith in a mental form act both on the subliminal and the subconscient. In the subliminal they set in action the powers of the inner being, its occult power to make thought, will or simple conscious force effective on the body in the subconscient they silence or block the suggestions of death and illness (expressed or unexpressed) that prevent the return of health. They help also to combat the same things (adverse suggestions) in the mind, vital, body consciousness. Where all this is completely done or with some completeness, the effects can be very remarkable.
1 A play on three Bengali words (prasanna = pleased, soothed; aprasanna = displeased; abasanna = dejected, but literally (one who has) sunk or sat down, whence dharma, sitting obstinately before the door of a person you hold a grievance against.
2 If we allow a falsehood, however small, to express itself through our mouth or our pen, how can we hope to become perfect messengers of Truth? A perfect servant of Truth should abstain even from the slightest inexactitude, exaggeration or deformation.
3 Death by an act of will.
4 This paragraph was modified in the "Letters on Yoga":
All illnesses pass through the nervous or vital-physical sheath of the subtle consciousness and subtle body before they enter the physical. If one is conscious of the subtle body or with the subtle consciousness, one can stop an illness on its way and prevent it from entering the physical body. But it may have come without one's noticing, or when one is asleep or through the subconscient, or in a sudden rush when one is off one's guard; then there is nothing to do but to fight it out from a hold already gained on the body. Self-defence by these inner means may become so strong that the body becomes practically immune as many yogis are. Still this practically does not mean absolutely. The absolute immunity can only come with the supramental change. For below the supramental it is the result of an action of a Force among many forces and can be disturbed by a disruption of the equilibrium established in the supramental it is a law of the nature; in a supramentalised body immunity from illness would be automatic, inherent in its new nature.
5 A small book written by Sri Aurobindo in an automatic manner in 1911. He did not want it to be included among his works.
6 The text of this paragraph is reproduced from the 1st Edition (1969) of Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo. The original version of the paragraph is given below. The changes were probably made by Sri Aurobindo, but no written record of his revision remains.
There is a difference between Yogic Force and Supramental Nature. What is acquired and held by Force in the one, becomes inherent in the supramental and exists by nature it becomes self-existent and absolute.
9 Divine Force