The Supreme Discovery
If we want to progress integrally, we must build within our conscious being a strong and pure mental synthesis which can serve us as a protection against temptations from outside, as a landmark to prevent us from going astray, as a beacon to light our way across the moving ocean of life.
Each individual should build up this mental synthesis according to his own tendencies and affinities and aspirations. But if we want it to be truly living and luminous, it must be centred on the idea that is the intellectual representation symbolising That which is at the centre of our being, That which is our life and our light.
This idea, expressed in sublime words, has been taught in various forms by all the great Instructors in all lands and all ages.
The Self of each one and the great universal Self are one.
Since all that is exists from all eternity in its essence and principle, why make a distinction between the being and its origin, between ourselves and what we place at the beginning?
The ancient traditions rightly said:
"Our origin and ourselves, our God and ourselves are one."
And this oneness should not be understood merely as a more or less close and intimate relationship of union, but as a true identity.
Thus, when a man who seeks the Divine attempts to reascend by degrees towards the inaccessible, he forgets that all his knowledge and all his intuition cannot take him one step forward in this infinite; neither does he know that what he wants to attain, what he believes to be so far from him, is within him.
For how could he know anything of the origin until he becomes conscious of this origin in himself?
It is by understanding himself, by learning to know himself, that he can make the supreme discovery and cry out in wonder like the patriarch in the Bible, "The house of God is here and I knew it not."
That is why we must express that sublime thought, creatrix of the material worlds, and make known to all the word that fills the heavens and the earth, "I am in all things and all beings."
When all shall know this, the promised day of great transfigurations will be at hand. When in each atom of Matter men shall recognise the indwelling thought of God, when in each living creature they shall perceive some hint of a gesture of God, when each man can see God in his brother, then dawn will break, dispelling the darkness, the falsehood, the ignorance, the error and suffering that weigh upon all Nature. For, "all Nature suffers and laments as she awaits the revelation of the Sons of God."
This indeed is the central thought epitomising all others, the thought which should be ever present to our remembrance as the sun that illumines all life.
That is why I remind you of it today. For if we follow our path bearing this thought in our hearts like the rarest jewel, the most precious treasure, if we allow it to do its work of illumination and transfiguration within us, we shall know that it lives in the centre of all beings and all things, and in it we shall feel the marvellous oneness of the universe.
Then we shall understand the vanity and childishness of our meagre satisfactions, our foolish quarrels, our petty passions, our blind indignations. We shall see the dissolution of our little faults, the crumbling of the last entrenchments of our limited personality and our obtuse egoism. We shall feel ourselves being swept along by this sublime current of true spirituality which will deliver us from our narrow limits and bounds.
The individual Self and the universal Self are one; in every world, in every being, in every thing, in every atom is the Divine Presence, and man's mission is to manifest it.
In order to do that, he must become conscious of this Divine Presence within him. Some individuals must undergo a real apprenticeship in order to achieve this: their egoistic being is too all-absorbing, too rigid, too conservative, and their struggles against it are long and painful. Others, on the contrary, who are more impersonal, more plastic, more spiritualised, come easily into contact with the inexhaustible divine source of their being. But let us not forget that they too should devote themselves daily, constantly, to a methodical effort of adaptation and transformation, so that nothing within them may ever again obscure the radiance of that pure light.
But how greatly the standpoint changes once we attain this deeper consciousness! How understanding widens, how compassion grows! On this a sage has said:
"I would like each one of us to come to the point where he perceives the inner God who dwells even in the vilest of human beings; instead of condemning him we would say, 'Arise, O resplendent Being, thou who art ever pure, who knowest neither birth nor death; arise, Almighty One, and manifest thy nature'."
Let us live by this beautiful utterance and we shall see everything around us transformed as if by miracle.
This is the attitude of true, conscious and discerning love, the love which knows how to see behind appearances, understand in spite of words, and which, amid all obstacles, is in constant communion with the depths.
What value have our impulses and our desires, our anguish and our violence, our sufferings and our struggles, all these inner vicissitudes unduly dramatised by our unruly imagination Ä what value do they have before this great, this sublime and divine love bending over us from the innermost depths of our being, bearing with our weaknesses, rectifying our errors, healing our wounds, bathing our whole being with its regenerating streams?
For the inner Godhead never imposes herself, she neither demands nor threatens; she offers and gives herself, conceals and forgets herself in the heart of all beings and things; she never accuses, she neither judges nor curses nor condemns, but works unceasingly to perfect without constraint, to mend without reproach, to encourage without impatience, to enrich each one with all the wealth he can receive; she is the mother whose love bears fruit and nourishes, guards and protects, counsels and consoles; because she understands everything, she can endure everything, excuse and pardon everything, hope and prepare for everything; bearing everything within herself, she owns nothing that does not belong to all, and because she reigns over all, she is the servant of all; that is why all, great and small, who want to be kings with her and gods in her, become, like her, not despots but servitors among their brethren.
How beautiful is this humble role of servant, the role of all who have been revealers and heralds of the God who is within all, of the Divine Love that animates all things....
And until we can follow their example and become true servants even as they, let us allow ourselves to be penetrated and transformed by this Divine Love; let us offer Him, without reserve, this marvellous instrument, our physical organism. He shall make it yield its utmost on every plane of activity.
To achieve this total self-consecration, all means are good, all methods have their value. The one thing needful is to persevere in our will to attain this goal. For then everything we study, every action we perform, every human being we meet, all come to bring us an indication, a help, a light to guide us on the path.
Before I close, I shall add a few pages for those who have already made apparently fruitless efforts, for those who have encountered the pitfalls on the way and seen the measure of their weakness, for those who are in danger of losing their self-confidence and courage. These pages, intended to rekindle hope in the hearts of those who suffer, were written by a spiritual worker at a time when ordeals of every kind were sweeping down on him like purifying flames.
You who are weary, downcast and bruised, you who fall, who think perhaps that you are defeated, hear the voice of a friend. He knows your sorrows, he has shared them, he has suffered like you from the ills of the earth; like you he has crossed many deserts under the burden of the day, he has known thirst and hunger, solitude and abandonment, and the cruelest of all wants, the destitution of the heart. Alas! he has known too the hours of doubt, the errors, the faults, the failings, every weakness.
But he tells you: Courage! Hearken to the lesson that the rising sun brings to the earth with its first rays each morning. It is a lesson of hope, a message of solace. You who weep, who suffer and tremble, who dare not expect an end to your ills, an issue to your pangs, behold: there is no night without dawn and the day is about to break when darkness is thickest; there is no mist that the sun does not dispel, no cloud that it does not gild, no tear that it will not dry one day, no storm that is not followed by its shining triumphant bow; there is no snow that it does not melt, nor winter that it does not change into radiant spring.
And for you too, there is no affliction which does not bring its measure of glory, no distress which cannot be transformed into joy, nor defeat into victory, nor downfall into higher ascension, nor solitude into radiating centre of life, nor discord into harmony - sometimes it is a misunderstanding between two minds that compels two hearts to open to mutual communion; lastly, there is no infinite weakness that cannot be changed into strength. And it is even in supreme weakness that almightiness chooses to reveal itself!
Listen, my little child, you who today feel so broken, so fallen perhaps, who have nothing left, nothing to cover your misery and foster your pride: never before have you been so great! How close to the summits is he who awakens in the depths, for the deeper the abyss, the more the heights reveal themselves!
Do you not know this, that the most sublime forces of the vests seek to array themselves in the most opaque veils of Matter? Oh, the sublime nuptials of sovereign love with the obscurest plasticities, of the shadow's yearning with the most royal light!
If ordeal or fault has cast you down, if you have sunk into the nether depths of suffering, do not grieve - for there indeed the divine love and the supreme blessing can reach you! Because you have passed through the crucible of purifying sorrows, the glorious ascents are yours.
You are in the wilderness: then listen to the voices of the silence. The clamour of flattering words and outer applause has gladdened your ears, but the voices of the silence will gladden your soul and awaken within you the echo of the depths, the chant of divine harmonies!
You are walking in the depths of night: then gather the priceless treasures of the night. In bright sunshine, the ways of intelligence are lit, but in the white luminosities of the night lie the hidden paths of perfection, the secret of spiritual riches.
You are being stripped of everything: that is the way towards plenitude. When you have nothing left, everything will be given to you. Because for those who are sincere and true, from the worst always comes the best.
Every grain that is sown in the earth produces a thousand. Every wing-beat of sorrow can be a soaring towards glory.
And when the adversary pursues man relentlessly, everything he does to destroy him only makes him greater.
Hear the story of the worlds, look: the great enemy seems to triumph. He casts the beings of light into the night, and the night is filled with stars. He rages against the cosmic working, he assails the integrity of the empire of the sphere, shatters its harmony, divides and subdivides it, scatters its dust to the four winds of infinity, and lo! the dust is changed into a golden seed, fertilising the infinite and peopling it with worlds which now gravitate around their eternal centre in the larger orbit of space - so that even division creates a richer and deeper unity, and by multiplying the surfaces of the material universe, enlarges the empire that it set out to destroy.
Beautiful indeed was the song of the primordial sphere cradled in the bosom of immensity, but how much more beautiful and triumphant is the symphony of the constellations, the music of the spheres, the immense choir that fills the heavens with an eternal hymn of victory!
Hear again: no state was ever more precarious than that of man when he was separated on earth from his divine origin. Above him stretched the hostile borders of the usurper, and at his horizon's gates watched jailers armed with flaming swords. Then, since he could climb no more to the source of life, the source arose within him; since he could no more receive the light from above, the light shone forth at the very centre of his being; since he could commune no more with the transcendent love, that love offered itself in holocaust and chose each terrestrial being, each human self as its dwelling-place and sanctuary.
That is how, in this despised and desolate but fruitful and blessed Matter, each atom contains a divine thought, each being carries within him the Divine Inhabitant. And if no being in all the universe is as frail as man, neither is any as divine as he!
In truth, in truth, in humiliation lies the cradle of glory!
28 April 1912
All extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry India (605002)