தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Sri Aurobindo on Himself

From Volume 26 of the Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, 1972 published by  Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry.  Compiled from Notes and Letters: Part One: Sri Aurobindo on Himself: Life Before Pondicherry; Beginnings of Yoga; His Path and Other Paths; Sadhana for the Earth-Consciousness; The Master and the Guide; The Poet and the Critic; Reminiscences and Observations; Messages; Some Early Letters; Part Two: Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on the Mother: Leaders of Evolution; Identity of Their Consciousness; Difficulties of the Path-finders; Helpers on the Way.

The contents of this document are copyright 1976, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, India. You may make a digital copy or printout of this text for your personal use, non-commercial use under the condition that you copy this document without modifications and in its entirety, including this copyright notice.

*Sri Aurobindo - Sri Aurobindo on Himself , 1985 (at Amazon.com)


bullet "I see that you have persisted in giving a biography -- is it really necessary or useful? The attempt is bound to be a failure, because neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see." (Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.378)

bullet "I had no urge toward spirituality in me, I developed spirituality. I was incapable of understanding metaphysics, I developed into a philosopher. I had no eye for painting -- I developed it by Yoga. I transformed my nature from what it was to what it was not. I did it by a special manner, not by a miracle and I did it to show what could be done and how it could be done. I did not do it out of any personal necessity of my own or by a miracle without any process. I say that if it is not so, then my Yoga is useless and my life was a mistake -- a mere absurd freak of Nature without meaning or consequence. You all seem to think it a great compliment to me to say that what I have done has no meaning for anybody except myself -- it is the most damaging criticism on my work that could be made. I also did not do it by myself, if you mean by myself the Aurobindo that was. He did it by the help of Krishna and the Divine Shakti. I had help from human sources also. (Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.148-9)

Q: How did your intellect become so powerful even before you started Yoga?

A: It was not any such thing before I started the Yoga. I started the Yoga in 1904 and all my work except some poetry was done afterwards. Moreover, my intelligence was inborn and so far as it grew before the Yoga, it was not by training but by a wide haphazard activity developing ideas from all things read, seen or experienced. That is not training, it is natural growth.

bullet "But what strange ideas again! -- that I was born with a supramental temperament and that I know nothing of hard realities! Good God! My whole life has been a struggle with hard realities, from hardships, starvation in England and constant and fierce difficulties to the far greater difficulties continually cropping up here in Pondicherry, external and internal. My life has been a battle from its early years and is still a battle: the fact that I wage it now from a room upstairs and by spiritual means as well as others that are external makes no difference to its character. But, of course, as we have not been shouting about these things, it is natural, I suppose, for others to think that I am living in an august, glamorous, lotus-eating dreamland where no hard facts of life or Nature present themselves. But what an illusion all the same!" (Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.153-4)

"You think then that in me (I don't bring in the Mother) there was never any doubt or despair, no attacks of that kind. I have borne every attack which human beings have borne, otherwise I would be unable to assure anybody "This too can be conquered." At least I would have no right to say so. Your psychology is terribly rigid. I repeat, the Divine when he takes on the burden of terrestrial nature, takes it fully, sincerely and without any conjuring tricks or pretence. If he has something behind him which emerges always out of the coverings, it is the same thing in essence even if greater in degree, that there is behind others -- and it is to awaken that that he is here. The psychic being does the same for all who are intended for the spiritual way -- men need not be extraordinary beings to follow it. That is the mistake you are making -- to harp on greatness as if only the great can be spiritual." (Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.154)

bullet Q: We have been wondering why you should have to write and rewrite your poetry -- for instance, "Savitri" ten or twelve times -- when you have all the inspiration at your command and do not have to receive it with the difficulty that faces budding Yogis like us.

A: That is very simple. I used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began with it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote from that level. Moreover I was particular -- if part seemed to me to come from any lower levels I was not satisfied to leave it because it was good poetry. All had to be as far as possible of the same mint. In fact Savitri has not been regarded by me as a poem to be written and finished, but as a field of experimentation to see how far poetry could be written from one's own Yogic consciousness and how that could be made creative. I did not rewrite Rose of God or the sonnets except for two or three verbal alterations made at the moment.(Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.239)

Q: The Overmind seems so distant from us, and your Himalayan austerity and grandeur takes my breath away, making my heart palpitate!

A: O rubbish! I am austere and grand, grim and stern! every blasted thing I never was! I groan in an un-Aurobindian despair when I hear such things. What has happened to the common sense of all you people? In order to reach the Overmind it is not at all necessary to take leave of this simple but useful quality. Common sense by the way is not logic (which is the least commonsense-like thing in the world), it is simply looking at things as they are without inflation or deflation -- not imagining wild imaginations -- or for that matter despairing "I know not why" despairs.(Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.354)

bullet  You say that this way is too difficult for you or the likes of you and it is only "Avatars" like myself or the Mother that can do it. That is a strange misconception; for it is, on the contrary, the easiest and simplest and most direct way and anyone can do it, if he makes his mind and vital quiet, even those who have a tenth of your capacity can do it. It is the other way of tension and strain and hard endeavour that is difficult and needs a great force of Tapasya.

As for the Mother and myself, we have had to try all ways, follow all methods, to surmount mountains of difficulties, a far heavier burden to bear than you or anybody else in the Ashram or outside, far more difficult conditions, battles to fight, wounds to endure, ways to cleave through impenetrable morass and desert and forest, hostile masses to conquer -- a work such as, I am certain, none else had to do before us. For the Leader of the Way in a work like ours has not only to bring down and represent and embody the Divine, but to represent too the ascending element in humanity and to bear the burden of humanity to the full and experience, not in a mere play or Lila but in grim earnest, all the obstruction, difficulty, opposition, baffled and hampered and only slowly victorious labour which are possible on the Path.

But it is not necessary nor tolerable that all that should be repeated over again to the full in the experience of others. It is because we have the complete experience that we can show a straighter and easier road to others -- if they will only consent to take it. It is because of our experience won at a tremendous price that we can urge upon you and others, "Take the psychic attitude; follow the straight sunlit path, with the Divine openly or secretly upbearing you -- if secretly, he will yet show himself in good time, -- do not insist on the hard, hampered, roundabout and difficult journey." (Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, p.463)

 
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