"We are conscious of only an insignificant portion of our being."
Questions and Answers 1929 (7 April)
What are these insignificant parts of our being ?
Almost all of them.
There are very few things which are not insignificant; all your ordinary
reactions, ordinary thoughts, sensations, actions, movements, - all this
is very insignificant. It is only at times, when there is a flash of the
higher consciousness through the psychic, an opening into something else,
a contact with the psychic being (which may last for a second), at that
moment, it is not insignificant. Otherwise, all the rest is repeated in
millions and millions of copies. Your way of seeing, acting, all your
reactions, thoughts, feelings, all that is ordinary. And you believe you
are extraordinary, particularly when you are seized by extraordinary sensations
and feelings, those that you consider extraordinary - you believe you
are lifted higher, nearing something superhuman; but you are quite mistaken.
It is nothing but an ordinary state, deplorably ordinary. You must enter
deeper, try to see within yourself if you want to find something which
is not insignificant.
You have said that in a previous life we were together; but if we had
not done Yoga, couldn't we have met all the same ?
I remember the circumstances in which I said that; it was to a lady who
had come here and asked me how it was that she had come here.... This
is true in a general way; when those born scattered over the world at
great distances from one another are driven by circumstances or by an
impulsion to come and gather here, it is almost always because they have
met in one life or another (not all in the same life) and because their
psychic being has felt that they belonged to the same family; so they
have taken an inner vow to continue to act together and collaborate. That
is why even though they are born far from one another, there is something
which compels them to come together; it is the psychic being, the psychic
consciousness that is behind. And only to the extent the psychic consciousness
is strong enough to order and organise the circumstances or the life,
that is, strong enough not to allow itself to be opposed by outside forces,
outside life movements, can people meet.
It is profoundly true in reality; there are large "families of beings"
who work for the same cause, who have gathered in more or less large numbers
and who come in groups as it were. It is as though at certain times there
were awakenings in the psychic world, as though lots of little sleeping
children were being called to wake up: "It is time, quick, quick,
go down!" And they hurry down. And sometimes they do not drop at
the same place, they are dispersed, yet there is something within which
troubles them, pushes them; for one reason or another they are drawn close
and that brings them together. But it is something deep in the being,
something that is not at all on the surface; otherwise, even if people
met they would not perhaps become aware of the bond. People meet and recognise
each other only to the extent they become conscious of their psychic being,
obey their psychic being, are guided by it; otherwise there is all that
comes in to oppose it, all that veils, all that stupefies, all those obstacles
to prevent you from finding yourself in your depths and being able to
collaborate truly in the work. You are tossed about by the forces of Nature.
There is only one solution, to find your psychic being and once it is
found to cling to it desperately, to let it guide you step by step whatever
be the obstacle. That is the only solution.
All this I did not write but I explained it to that lady. She had put
to me the question: "How did I happen to come here?" I told
her that it was certainly not for reasons of the external consciousness,
it was something in her inner being that had pushed her. Only the awakening
was not strong enough to overcome all the rest and she returned to the
ordinary life for very ordinary reasons of living.
Outwardly, it was a funny thing that had made her come here. She was a
young woman like others, she had been betrothed but not married; the man
had broken off. She was very unhappy, had wept much and that had spoiled
her pretty face, dug wrinkles there. And when the heavy grief had gone,
she was no longer so pretty. So she was extremely vexed; she consulted
people whose profession it is to make you look pretty. They advised her
paraffin injections in the face: "After that, you don't have wrinkles
any longer!" She was injected with grease; and instead of the desired
effect, she had greasy lumps here and there. She was in despair, for she
was uglier than ever. Then she met a charlatan who told her that in England
there was no means of restoring her pretty face: "Go to India, there
are great Yogis there who will do it for you!" That is why she had
come here. The very first thing she told me was: "You see how my
face is ruined, can you restore my pretty looks?" I said no! Then
she started putting me questions on Yoga and she was moved. That day she
told me: "I came to India to get rid of my wrinkles; now what you
tell me interests me. But then why did I come? This is not the true motive
that made me come here." I explained to her that there was something
other than her external being and that it was her psychic being which
had led her here. External motives are simply pretexts used by the psychic
to realise itself.
But she was quite a wonderful person! In the beginning she had taken an
attitude of benevolence and goodwill towards everything and everybody,
even the worst scamp; she saw only the good side. Then as she stayed on,
her consciousness developed; after a time, she began to see people as
they were. So, one day she told me: "Formerly, when I was unconscious,
I thought that everybody was good, people seemed to be so nice! Why did
you make me conscious?" I answered her: "Do not stop on the
way. Go a little further."
Once one has begun Yoga, it is better to go to the end.
"Questions and Answers 1953"
CWM Volume 5, pages 1-4
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA
Next Talk: 25 March 1953