of the Mind
(the 5 sub-sections are on this page: titles are mine)
1/5: The Intellect - The thinking Mind - The Thoughts
2/5: Questions and Knowledge
3/5: The Physical Mind
4/5: Mental development - Reading
5/5 - Mental development - Others
Part 4 - Section 2
The Transformation of the Mind
(1/5: The Intellect - The thinking Mind - The Thoughts)
There is no reason why one should not receive through the thinking mind, as one receives through the vital, the emotional and the body. The thinking mind is as capable of receiving as these are, and, since it has to be transformed as well as the rest, it must be trained to receive, otherwise no transformation of it could take place.
It is the ordinary unenlightened activity of the intellect that is an obstacle to spiritual experience, just as the ordinary unregenerated activity of the vital or the obscure stupidly obstructive consciousness of the body is an obstacle. What the sadhak has to be specially warned against in the wrong processes of the intellect is, first, any mistaking of mental ideas and impressions or intellectual conclusions for realisation; secondly, the restless activity of the mere mind which disturbs the spontaneous accuracy of psychic and spiritual experience and gives no room for the descent of the true illuminating knowledge or else deforms it as soon as it touches or even before it fully touches the human mental plane. There are also of course the usual vices of the intellect, - its leaning towards sterile doubt instead of luminous reception and calm enlightened discrimination; its arrogance claiming to judge things that are beyond it, unknown to it, too deep for it by standards drawn from its own limited experience; its attempts to explain the supraphysical by the physical or its demand for the proof of higher and occult things by the criteria proper to Matter and mind in Matter; others also too many to enumerate here.
Always it is substituting its own representations and constructions and opinions for the true knowledge. But if the intellect is surrendered, open, quiet, receptive, there is no reason why it should not be a means of reception of the Light or an aid to the experience of spiritual states and to the fullness of an inner change.
To have a developed intellect is always helpful if one can enlighten it from above and turn it to a divine use.
The turmoil of mental (intellectual) activity has also to be silenced like the vital activity of desire in order that the calm and peace may be complete. Knowledge has to come but from above. In this calm the ordinary mental activities like the ordinary vital activities become surface movements with which the silent inner self is not connected. It is the liberation necessary in order that the true knowledge and the true life-activity may replace or transform the activities of the Ignorance.
Intellectual activities are not part of the inner being - the intellect is the outer mind.
The intellect can be as great an obstacle as the vital when it chooses to prefer its own constructions to the Truth.
Intellect is part of Mind and an instrument of half-truth like the rest of the Mind.
What you have said is perfectly right. To see the Truth does not depend on a big intellect or a small intellect. It depends on being in contact with the Truth and the mind silent and quiet to receive it. The biggest intellects can make errors of the worst kind and confuse Truth and Falsehood, if they have not the contact with the Truth or the direct experience.
Its [the intellect's] function is to reason from the perceptions of the mind and senses, to form conclusions and to put things in logical relation with each other. A well-trained intellect is a good preparation of the mind for greater knowledge, but it cannot itself give the yogic knowledge or know the Divine - it can only have ideas about the Divine, but having ideas is not knowledge. In the course of the sadhana intellect has to be transformed into the higher mind which is itself a passage towards the true knowledge.
The intellect of most men is extremely imperfect, ill-trained, half-developed - therefore in most the conclusions of the intellect are hasty, ill-founded and erroneous or, if right, right more by chance than by merit or right working. The conclusions are formed without knowing the facts or the correct or sufficient data, merely by a rapid inference and the process by which it comes from the premisses to the conclusions is usually illogical or faulty - the process being unsound by which the conclusion is arrived at, the conclusion is also likely to be fallacious. At the same time the intellect is usually arrogant and presumptuous, confidently asserting its imperfect conclusions as the truth and setting down as mistaken, stupid or foolish those who differ from them. Even when fully trained and developed, the intellect cannot arrive at absolute certitude or complete truth, but it can arrive at one aspect or side of it and make a reasonable or probable affirmation; but untrained, it is a quite insufficient instrument, at once hasty and peremptory and unsafe and unreliable.
The mind does not record things as they are, but as they appear to it. It catches parts, omits others; afterwards the memory and imagination mix together and make a quite different representation of it.
It is not any weakness of the will or the result of passivity, but an overhaste of decision upon a mental impulse. That is the usual movement of the mind - and it is sometimes the fruit of a certain kind of sattwic zeal. But owing to the haste there is not sufficient time taken to see the opposite side, the defects of the decision taken, or the possible objection that might be made. Peace is the basis, but into it must come the action of a certain Light from above which shows each thing in its right proportions as a whole - for the mind at its best is incomplete and usually one-sided in its perceptions without the guidance of such a higher Light.
Most people who have not knowledge are apt to be opinionated - they have their ideas and don't want them to be changed or their fixity disturbed.
The point is that people take no trouble to see whether their intellect is giving them right thoughts, right conclusions, right views on things and persons, right indications about their conduct or course of action. They have their idea and accept it as truth or follow it simply because it is their idea. Even when they recognise that they have made mistakes of the mind, they do not consider it of any importance nor do they try to be more careful mentally than before. In the vital field people know that they must not follow their desires or impulses without check or control, they know that they ought to have a conscience or a moral sense which discriminates what they can or should do and what they cannot or should not do; in the field of intellect no such care is taken. Men are supposed to follow their intellect, to have and assert their own ideas right or wrong without any control; the intellect, it is said, is man's highest instrument and he must think and act according to its ideas. But this is not true; the intellect needs an inner light to guide, check and control it quite as much as the vital. There is something above the intellect which one has to discover and the intellect should be only an intermediary for the action of that source of true Knowledge.
For the human thinking mind there are always many sides to everything and it decides according to its own bent or preference or to its habitual ideas or some reason that presents itself to the intellect as the best. It gets the real truth only when something else puts a higher light into it - when the psychic or the intuition touches it and makes it feel or see.
Many things are bad only in the way people look at them. Things which you consider all right, other people call bad; what you think to be bad, others find quite natural.
The proper thing is to see all with an unmoved calm, both the good and bad as a movement of Nature on the surface.
But to do this truly without error or egoism or wrong reactions needs a consciousness and knowledge that is not personal and limited.
It is very usual for intuitive suggestions to come like that and the mind to disregard them. It is because the mind is accustomed to follow its own process and cannot recognise or have confidence in the intuition when it comes. The mind has to learn to look at these things when they come and give them value if experience confirms their truth.
In the sphere of the Spirit are only the eternal truths - all is eternally itself there, there is no development, nothing unrealised or striving to be fulfilled. There are no such things as possibilities therefore.
In life, on the other hand, all is a play of possibilities - nothing is realised, all is seeking to be realised - or if not yet seeking, then waiting behind the veil for that. Nothing is realised in its highest form, in its truth or completeness, but all is possible. All these possibilities are derived from the truths above, e.g., the possibility of knowledge, the possibility of love, the possibility of joy, etc.
Intellect, will, etc. are intermediaries which try to catch something of the hidden higher truths and bring them into life or else raise life to them so that the possibilities of life here may become the complete realities that are already there above.
The intellect is made up of imaginations, perceptions, inferences. The pure reason is quite another thing, but only a few are able to use it. As for knowledge in yoga, it comes first from the higher mind, but even that does not see the whole Truth, only sides of it.
Pure reason deals with things in themselves, ideas, concepts, the essential nature of things. It lives in the world of ideas. It is philosophic and metaphysical in its nature.
All depends on the meaning you attach to words used; it is a matter of nomenclature. Ordinarily, one says a man has intellect if he can think well; the nature and process and field of the thought do not matter. If you take intellect in that sense, then you can say that intellect has different strata, and Ford belongs to one stratum of intellect, Einstein to another - Ford has a practical and executive business intellect, Einstein a scientific discovering and theorising intellect. But Ford too in his own field theorises, invents, discovers. Yet would you call Ford an intellectual or a man of intellect? I would prefer to use for the general faculty of mind the word intelligence. Ford has a great and forceful practical intelligence, keen, quick, successful, dynamic. He has a brain that can deal with thoughts also, but even there his drive is towards practicality. He believes in rebirth (metempsychosis), for instance, not for any philosophic reason, but because it explains life as a school of experience in which one gathers more and more experience and develops by it. Einstein has, on the other hand, a great discovering scientific intellect, not, like Marconi, a powerful practical inventive intelligence for the application of scientific discovery. All men have, of course, an intellect of a kind; all, for instance, can discuss and debate (for which you say rightly intellect is needed); but it is only when one rises to the realm of ideas and moves freely in it that you say, This man has an intellect. Address an assembly of peasants, you will find, if you give them scope, that they can put to you points and questions which may often leave the parliamentary debater panting. But we are content to say that these peasants have much practical intelligence.
The power to discuss and debate is, as I say, a common human faculty - and habit. Perhaps it is here that man begins to diverge from the animal; for animals have much intelligence, many animals and even insects have some rudimentary power of practical reasoning, but so far as we know, they do not meet and put their ideas about things side by side or sling them at each other in a debate, [Perhaps the crows do in the crow-Parliament sometimes!] as even the most ignorant human can do and very animatedly does.
But this, though a general faculty of the race, is very often specialised, so much so that a man whom it is dangerous to cross in debate in the field of literature or of science or of philosophy may yet make a fool of himself and wallow contentedly in a quagmire of blunders and fallacies if he discusses politics or economics or, let us say, spirituality or yoga.
His only salvation is the blissful depth of his ignorance which prevents him from seeing what a mess he has made. Again, a man may be a keen legal or political debater, the two very commonly go together, yet no intellectual. I admit that a man must have some logical intellect to debate well. But, after all, the object of debate is to win, to make your point, and you may do that even if your point is false; success, not truth, is the aim of debate. So I admit what you say with reservations.
I agree also that labels, even when applied to less developed persons, are unsatisfactory. What we really do is to pick out something prominent and label with that as if it were all the person. But classification is impossible without that and man's intellect is driven always to classify, fix distinctions, set apart with a label. The philosophers have pointed out that Science does it too rigidly and in doing so cuts falsely across the truth of Nature. But if we do not do that, we cannot have any Science.
If the intellectual will always have a greater wideness and vastness, how can we be sure that he will have an equal fervour, depth and sweetness with the emotional man? It may be that homo intellectualis will remain wider and homo psychicus will remain deeper in heart (even when the latter's inner mind opens up).
Do not confuse the higher knowledge and the mental knowledge. The intellectual man will be able to give a wider and more orderly expression to what higher knowledge he gets than the homo psychicus; but it does not follow he will have more of it. He will have that only if he rises to an equal width and plasticity and comprehensiveness of the higher knowledge planes. In that case he will replace his mental by his above-mental capacity. But for many intellectuals, so-called, their intellectuality may be a stumbling-block as they bind themselves with mental conceptions or stifle their psychic fire under the heavy weight of rational thought. On the other hand, I have seen comparatively uneducated people expressing higher knowledge with an astonishing fullness and depth and accuracy which the stumbling movements of their brain could never have allowed one to suppose possible. Therefore, why fix beforehand by the mind what will or will not be possible when the above-mind reigns? What the mind conceives as must be need not be the measure of the will be. Such and such a homo intellectualis may turn out to be a more fervent God-lover than the effervescent emotional man; such and such an emotionalist may receive and express a wider knowledge than his intellect or even the intellect of the intellectual man could have harboured or organised. Let us not bind the phenomena of the higher consciousness by the possibilities and probabilities of a lower plane.
An unintellectual mind cannot bring down the Knowledge? What then about Ramakrishna? Do you mean to say that the majority of the sadhaks here who have not learned logic and are ignorant of philosophy will never get Knowledge?
If one has faith and openness that is enough. Besides there are two kinds of understanding - understanding by the intellect and understanding in the consciousness. It is good to have the former if it is accurate, but it is not indispensable.
Understanding by the consciousness comes if there is faith and openness, though it may come only gradually and through steps of experience. But I have seen people without education or intellectuality understand in this way perfectly well the course of the yoga in themselves, while intellectual men make big mistakes, e.g. take a neutral mental quietude for the spiritual peace and refuse to come out of it in order to go farther.
Yes, the active mind in people with a very intellectual turn can be an obstacle to the deeper more silent spiritual movement.
Afterwards when it is turned into the higher thought (intuitive, or overmental) it becomes on the contrary a great force.
The thinking mind has to learn how to be entirely silent. It is only then that true knowledge can come.
Good; cessation of thought and other vibrations is the climax of the inner silence. When once one has got that, it is easier for the true knowledge to come from above in place of the mental thought.
It is necessary to curb the mind's impatience a little. Knowledge is progressive - if it tries to leap up to the top at once, it may make a hasty construction which it will have afterwards to undo. The knowledge and experience must come by degrees and step by step.
In the mind there is always a certain haste to seize quickly at what is presented to it as the highest Truth. That is unavoidable, but the more one is stilled in mind the less it will distort things.
That is always the difficulty with the mind. It must learn to be silent and let the knowledge come without trying to catch hold of it for its own play.
The attempt of the mind and vital to seize on the experience is always one of the chief obstacles.
An experience should be allowed its full time to develop or have its full effect. It should not be interrupted except in case of necessity or, of course, if it is not a good experience.
During the experience the mind should be quiet. After the experience is over it can be active. If it is active while it is there, the experience may stop altogether.
To think and question about an experience when it is happening is the wrong thing to do; it stops it or diminishes it. Let the experience have its full play - if it is something like this new life force or peace or Force or anything else helpful. When it is over, you can think about it - not while it is proceeding. For these experiences are spiritual and not mental and the mind has to be quiet and not interfere.
There is something in you that does want to stick to the habit of mentalising about everything. So long as you were not having real experiences it did not matter. But once real experiences begin you have to learn to approach them in the right way.
You have to learn by experience. Mental information (badly understood, as it always is without experience) might rather hamper than help. In fact there is no fixed mental knowledge about these things, which vary infinitely. You must learn to go beyond the hankering for mental information and open to the true way of knowledge.
There are two centres or parts of the consciousness - one is a witness, sâksî, and observes, the other consciousness is active and it is this active consciousness that you felt going down deep into the vital being. If your mind had not become active, you would have known where it went and what it went there to experience or do. When there is an experience, you should not begin to think about it, for that is of no use at all and it only stops the experience - you should remain silent, observe and let it go on to its end.
It was not an imagination, but an experience. When such an experience occurs, the attempt to take hold of it mentally and continue it may on the contrary interrupt it. It is best to let it continue of itself; if it ceases, it is likely to recur.
Aspiration during the period of experience is not so necessary. It is in the intervals that it should be there.
When the personal mind is still, whatever mental action is needed is taken up and done by the Force itself which does all the necessary thinking and progressively transforms it by bringing down into it a higher and higher plane of perception and knowledge.
It is perfectly possible to do work in an entire emptiness without any interference or activity of the lower parts of the consciousness.
It is in the silence of the mind that the strongest and freest action can come, e.g., the writing of a book, poetry, inspired speech, etc. When the mind is active it interferes with the inspiration, puts in its own small ideas which get mixed up with the inspiration or starts something from a lower level or simply stops the inspiration altogether by bubbling up with all sorts of mere mental suggestions. So also intuitions or action, etc. can come more easily when the ordinary inferior movement of the mind is not there. It is also in the silence of the mind that it is easiest for knowledge to come from within or above, from the psychic or from the higher consciousness.
The absence of thought is quite the right thing - for the true inner consciousness is a silent consciousness which has not to think out things, but gets the right perception, understanding and knowledge in a spontaneous way from within and speaks or acts according to that. It is the outer consciousness which has to depend on outside things and to think about them because it has not this spontaneous guidance. When one is fixed in this inner consciousness, then one can indeed go back to the old action by an effort of will, but it is no longer a natural movement and, if long maintained, becomes fatiguing. As for the dreams, that is different. Dreams about old bygone things come up from the subconscient which retains the old impressions and the seeds of the old movements and habits long after the waking consciousness has dropped them. Abandoned by the waking consciousness, they still come up in dream; for in sleep the outer physical consciousness goes down into the subconscient or towards it and many dreams come up from there.
The silence in which all is quiet and one remains as a witness while something in the consciousness spontaneously calls down the higher things is the complete silence which comes when the full force of the higher consciousness is upon mind and vital and body.
The pure inspiration and conception is something quite different - it comes from deep within or from high above. This is the lower vital mind at work making formations. When the calmness is there, all sorts of things may rise on the surface - they have not to be accepted, but simply looked at. In time the calmness will be so developed as to quell the vital and outer mind also and in that complete quietude the true perceptions will come.
Not to allow the mind to bubble up with all sorts of ideas and feelings etc. but to remain quiet and learn to think and feel only what is true and right.
The danger of the mental forces is when the higher consciousness descends they tend (unless there is a deep silence) to become active in the consciousness for forming ideas of a mental type which can always be misapplied. First there should be a basis of entire calm, peace and silence - if there is activity, it should be that of a knowledge coming down and the mind silent receiving it accurately. This you can easily have, provided the mind is quiet.
The danger of the vital is that of taking hold of love, Ananda, the sense of Beauty and using it for its own purposes, for vital human relations or interchange or else some kind of mere enjoyment of its own.
In the West the physical mind is too dominant, so that the psychic does not so easily get a chance - except of course in exceptional people.
After all India with her mentality and method has done a hundred times more in the spiritual field than Europe with her intellectual doubts and questionings. Even when a European overcomes the doubt and questioning, he does not find it as easy to go as fast and far as an Indian with the same force of personality because the stir of mind is still greater. It is only when he can get beyond that that he arrives, but for him it is not so easy.
On the other hand however your statement is correct. It is natural considering the times and the occidental mentality prevalent everywhere. It is also probably necessary that this should be faced and overcome before any supramental realisation is possible in the earth-consciousness - for it is the attitude of the physical mind to spiritual things and as it is in the physical that the resistance has to be overcome before the mind can be overpassed in the way required for this yoga, the strongest possible representation of its difficulties was indispensable.
To reject doubts means control of one's thoughts - very certainly so. But the control of one's thoughts is as necessary as the control of one's vital desires and passions or the control of the movements of one's body - for the yoga, and not for the yoga only. One cannot be a fully developed mental being even, if one has not a control of the thoughts, is not their observer, judge, master, - the mental Purusha, manomaya purusha, shaksî, anumantâ, îshvara. It is no more proper for the mental being to be the tennis-ball of unruly and uncontrollable thoughts than to be a rudderless ship in the storm of the desires and passions or a slave of either the inertia or the impulses of the body. I know it is more difficult because man being primarily a creature of mental Prakriti identifies himself with the movements of his mind and cannot at once dissociate himself and stand free from the swirl and eddies of the mind whirlpool. It is comparatively easy for him to put a control on his body, at least on a certain part of its movements; it is less easy but still very possible after a struggle to put a mental control on his vital impulsions and desires; but to sit like the Tantric yogi on the river, above the whirlpool of his thoughts, is less facile.
Nevertheless, it can be done; all developed mental men, those who get beyond the average, have in one way or other or at least at certain times and for certain purposes to separate the two parts of the mind, the active part which is a factory of thoughts and the quiet masterful part which is at once a Witness and a Will, observing them, judging, rejecting, eliminating, accepting, ordering corrections and changes, the Master in the House of Mind, capable of self-empire, sâmrâjya.
The yogi goes still farther; he is not only a master there, but even while in mind in a way, he gets out of it as it were, and stands above or quite back from it and free. For him the image of the factory of thoughts is no longer quite valid; for he sees that thoughts come from outside, from the universal Mind or universal Nature, sometimes formed and distinct, sometimes unformed and then they are given shape somewhere in us. The principal business of our mind is either a response of acceptance or a refusal to these thought-waves (as also vital waves, subtle physical energy waves) or this giving a personal-mental form to thought-stuff (or vital movements) from the environing Nature-Force. It was my great debt to Lele that he showed me this. Sit in meditation, he said, but do not think, look only at your mind; you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw these away from your mind till your mind is capable of entire silence. I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think either of questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire. I mention this only to emphasise that the possibilities of the mental being are not limited and that it can be the free Witness and Master in its own house. It is not to say that everybody can do it in the way I did it and with the same rapidity of the decisive movement (for, of course, the latter fullest developments of this new untrammelled mental power took time, many years) but a progressive freedom and mastery of one's mind is perfectly within the possibilities of anyone who has the faith and the will to undertake it.
The error comes from thinking that your thoughts are your own and that you are their maker and if you do not create thoughts (i.e. think), there will be none. A little observation ought to show that you are not manufacturing your own thoughts, but rather thoughts occur in you. Thoughts are born, not made - like poets, according to the proverb. Of course, there is a sort of labour and effort when you try to produce or else to think on a certain subject, but that is a concentration for making thoughts come up, come in, come down, as the case may be, and fit themselves together. The idea that you are shaping the thoughts or fitting them together is an egoistic delusion. They are doing it themselves, or Nature is doing it for you, only under a certain compulsion; you have to beat her often in order to make her do it, and the beating is not always successful.
But the mind or nature or mental energy - whatever you like to call it - does this in a certain way and carries on with a certain order of thoughts, haphazard intelligentialities (excuse the barbarism) or asininities, rigidly ordered or imperfectly ordered intellectualities, logical sequences and logical inconsequences, etc., etc. How is an intuition to get in in the midst of that waltzing and colliding crowd? It does sometimes; in some minds often intuitions do come in, but immediately the ordinary thoughts surround it and eat it up alive, and then with some fragment of the murdered intuition shining through their non-intuitive stomachs they look up smiling at you and say, I am an intuition, sir. But they are only intellect, intelligence or ordinary thought with part of a dismembered and therefore misleading intuition inside them. Now in a vacant mind, vacant but not inert, (that is important) intuitions have a chance of getting in alive and whole. But don't run away with the idea that all that comes into an empty mind will be intuitive. Anything, any blessed kind of idea can come in. One has to be vigilant and examine the credentials of the visitor. In other words, the mental being must be there, silent but vigilant, impartial but discriminating. That is, however, when you are in search of truth. For poetry, so much is not necessary. There it is only the poetic quality of the visitor that has to be scrutinised and that can be done after he has left his packet - by results.
That is the way things come, only one does not notice. Thoughts, ideas, happy inventions etc., etc., are always wandering about (in thought-waves or otherwise), seeking a mind that may embody them. One mind takes, looks, rejects - another takes, looks, accepts. Two different minds catch the same thought-form or thought-wave, but the mental activities being different, make different results out of them. Or it comes to one and he does nothing, then it walks off saying, O this unready animal! and goes to another who promptly welcomes it and it settles into expression with a joyous bubble of inspiration, illumination or enthusiasm of original discovery or creation and the recipient cries proudly, I, I have done this. Ego, sir! ego! You are the recipient, the conditioning medium, if you like - nothing more.
First of all, these thought-waves, thought-seeds or thought-forms or whatever they are, are of different values and come from different planes of consciousness. The same thought-substance can take higher or lower vibrations according to the plane of consciousness through which the thoughts come in (e.g., thinking mind, vital mind, physical mind, subconscient mind) or the power of consciousness which catches them and pushes them into one man or another. Moreover, there is a stuff of mind in each man and the incoming thought uses that for shaping itself or translating itself (transcribing we usually call it), but the stuff is finer or coarser, stronger or weaker, etc., etc., in one mind than in another. Also, there is a mind-energy actual or potential in each which differs and this mind-energy in its recipience of the thought can be luminous or obscure, sattwic, rajasic or tamasic with consequences that vary in each case.
They [the ideas in the universal Mind] take word-form in the mind when they enter into it - unless they come from beings, not as mere idea-forces.
This is a wrong psychology. Thought is quite possible without words. Children have thoughts, animals too - thoughts can take another form than words. Thought perceptions come first - language comes to express the perceptions and itself leads to fresh thoughts.
(2/5: Questions and Knowledge)
Mental knowledge is of little use except sometimes as an introduction pointing towards the real knowledge which comes from a direct consciousness of things.
Is getting knowledge from above and getting it by the mind in its own capacity the same thing? If the mind is capable then there is no need of knowledge from above, it can do the getting of knowledge by its own greatness.
It is not a mental knowledge that is necessary, but a psychic perception or a direct perception in the consciousness. A mental knowledge can always be blinded by the tricks of the vital.
It [greater perfection in knowledge] can come only by further development and the activity of another kind of knowledge communicating itself to the physical and taking up gradually the functions of the mind in all its parts.
Knowledge is always better than ignorance. It makes things possible hereafter if not at the moment, while ignorance actively obstructs and misleads.
There are different kinds of knowledge. One is inspiration, i.e. something that comes out of the knowledge planes like a flash and opens up the mind to the Truth in a moment. That is inspiration. It easily takes the form of words as when a poet writes or a speaker speaks, as people say, from inspiration.
The idea is not enough. It gives only a half-light - you must get to all the Truth that lies behind the idea and the object together. Being, consciousness, force - that is the triple secret.
There is a power in the idea - a force of which the idea is a shape. Again, behind the idea and force and word there is what is called the spirit, - a consciousness which generates the force.
All consciousness comes from the one Consciousness - Knowledge is one aspect of the Divine Consciousness.
It [spiritual knowledge] is the conscious experience of the Truth, seen, felt, lived within and it is also a spiritual perception (more direct and concrete than the intellectual) of the true significance of things which may express itself in thought and speech, but is independent of them in itself.
I was speaking of your experiences of the higher consciousness, of your seeing the Mother in all things - these are what are called spiritual realisations, spiritual knowledge. Realisations are the essence of knowledge; thoughts about them, expression of them in words are a lesser knowledge and if the thoughts are merely mental without experience or realisation, they are not regarded as Jnana in the spiritual sense at all.
The mind in its higher part is aware of being one with the Divine, in all ways, in all things - having that supreme knowledge, it is not disturbed by its own ignorance and impotence in its lower instrumental parts; it looks on all that with a smile and remains happy and luminous with the light of the supreme knowledge.
The consciousness of union with the Divine is for the spiritual seeker the supreme knowledge.
Yes, it happens like that. A touch of realisation is enough to set the higher mind knowledge or the illumined mind knowledge flowing.
Such questions should not be allowed to stop the flow [of higher knowledge]. Afterwards one can consider them and get the answer. The knowledge that comes is not necessarily complete or perfect in expression; but it must be allowed to come freely and amplifications or corrections can be made afterwards.
Neither knowledge nor anything else is constant at first - and even when it is there one cannot expect it to be always active.
That comes afterwards.
What is to be left out is the ego. Limitation of knowledge will necessarily be there so long as there is not the fullest wideness from above; that does not matter.
Your mind is too active. If it were more quiet and less questioning and argumentative and restlessly wanting to find devices it seems to me that there would be more chance of knowledge coming down and of intuitive, non-intellectual consciousness developing within you.
So long as the outer mind is not quiet, it is impossible for the intuition to develop. So if you want to go on asking intellectual questions about what is beyond the intellect until the intuition develops in spite of this activity, you will have to go on for ever.
It is the physical mind that raises all these questions and cannot understand or give the right answer. The real knowledge and understanding can only come if you stop questioning with the small physical mind and allow a deeper and wider consciousness which is there within you to come out and grow. You would then get automatically the true answer and the true guidance. Your mistake is to attach so much importance to the external mind and its ideas and perceptions instead of concentrating on the growth of the inner consciousness.
A thousand questions can be asked about anything whatsoever, but to answer would require a volume, and even then the mind would understand nothing. It is only by a growth in the consciousness itself that you can get some direct perception of these things. But for that the mind must be quiet and a direct feeling and intuition take its place.
When you get the true intuitive plane, there will be no need for instructions or questions as to how to do sadhana. The sadhana will do itself under the light of the intuition.
That is always the case. Things said of sadhana - or any kind of real truth - always give more meaning with the growth of consciousness and experience. That is why when one rises in the level of consciousness the truth seen before in the mind becomes a new and vastly deeper thing always.
The one thing always is to let the Peace and Power work and not allow the mind to seek after things and get disturbed. All the values of the mind are constructions of ignorance - it is only when your psychic being comes forward that you have the true knowledge - for your psychic being knows.
Yes, that is the point. The ordinary mind governed by the vital desires and its own mental formations cannot understand - it must fall quiet and allow the Peace and Force to work so as to bring another consciousness with the true Light in it. When that is done, these questionings and their reactions will have no place.
You have only to allow the consciousness to develop - at first there will be mistakes as well as true ideas, but when there is sufficient development and the Mother's force and knowledge directly working in you, things will become more and more right - not only so, but you will have the certitude. At present there is still too much of the old physical mind for perceptions to be always right. As the Peace and Force take direct and complete possession of the physical consciousness, this will change and the consciousness develop more surely and with a greater light.
Get back to the true feeling of the Force and Peace - the understanding will grow with the growth of that feeling and experience. For with the Force and Peace comes always something of the Light and it is the Light illumining the mind that brings the understanding. So long as you try to understand with the unillumined mind, mistakes and non-understanding are inevitable.
(3/5: The Physical Mind)
It is the nature of the physical mind not to believe or accept anything that is supraphysical unless it is enlightened and compelled by the light to do it. Do not identify yourself with this mind, do not consider it as yourself but only as an obscure functioning of Nature. Call down the light into it until it is compelled to believe.
Yes, it [the physical mind] reasons, but on the basis of external data mostly - on things as they appear to the outer mind and senses or the habitual ideas to which it is accustomed or to a purely external knowledge.
It [the physical mind] is the instrument of understanding and ordered action on physical things. Only instead of being obscure and ignorant and fumbling as now or else guided only by an external knowledge it has to become conscious of the Divine and to act in accordance with an inner light, will and knowledge putting itself into contact and an understanding unity with the physical world.
It means that the outer physical mind has a certain obscurity in it which impedes the knowledge from coming out. This obscurity is universal in the external physical mind - you feel it more just now because it is in the physical consciousness that the opposition is now centred. It will pass as soon as the Force can descend through the mind and vital and act directly on the physical nature.
What you felt was the obscurity of the external physical mind and nature (the centre in the throat is the centre of this external mind). So long as that is there the external nature and action remain as they always were and there is no correspondence between it and the inner spiritual consciousness and experience. This cannot disappear by a single experience; a steady will to change is necessary.
What you say is quite true. No personal effort can get these things done; that is why we tell you always to keep yourself quiet and let the peace and the force work. As for understanding, it is your physical mind that wants to understand, but the physical mind is incapable of understanding these things by itself - for it has no knowledge of them and no means of knowledge. Its standards also are quite different from the standards of the true knowledge. All the physical mind can do is to be quiet and allow the light to come into it, accepting it, not interposing its own ideas - then it will progressively get the knowledge. It can't get it in this way; it must surrender.
It is the function of the outward physical mind to deal with external things - that is why it wants always to be busy with them. What it has to learn is to be quiet and to act only when the Will wants to use it, when it is really needed - and also to act only on what the Will wants to deal with, not run about in a random manner. When it becomes quiet, it can then go inside and come into contact and unity with the inner physical consciousness. The wideness and peace as it grows can do much to quiet the physical mind and give it an inward source of deeper action.
What you have now seen and describe in your letter is the ordinary activity of the physical mind which is full of ordinary habitual and constantly recurrent thoughts and is always busy with external objects and activities. What used to trouble you before was the vital mind which is different, - for that is always occupied with emotions, passions, desires, reactions of all kinds to the contacts of life and the behaviour of others. The physical mind also can be responsive with these things but in a different way - its nature is less that of desire than of habitual activity, small common interests, pains and pleasures. If one tries to control or suppress it, it becomes more active.
To deal with this mind two things are necessary, (1) not so much to try to control or fight with or suppress it as to stand back from it: one looks at it and sees what it is but refuses to follow its thoughts or run about among the objects it pursues, remaining at the back of the mind quiet and separate; (2) to practise quietude and concentration in this separateness, until the habit of quiet takes hold of the physical mind and replaces the habit of these small activities. This of course takes time and can only come by practice. What you propose to do is therefore the right thing.
Detach yourself from it [the habitual movement of thoughts] - make your mind external to it, something that you can observe as you observe things occurring in the street. So long as you do not do that it is difficult to be the mind's master.
Quite right. But that is a common experience - it is extraordinary how long it takes for the simple and right thing to do to dawn on the physical mind.
It [the psychic] can have a very great influence [on the physical mind] by giving it the right attitude and the right way of looking at things so that it supports the emotional being in its aspiration, love and surrender and itself gets interest, faith and insight in the inner truth of things instead of seeing only their outer aspects and following false inferences and appearances.
It also helps it to get rid of the narrowness and doubt which are the chief defects of the physical mind.
The psychic if it gets hold of them [the physical mind and the vital physical] can change completely their will and outlook and orientation and open them to the true perception of things and right impulse. The mind and higher vital can help much towards that.
When the physical mind is disturbed by the vital, it is not easily convinced because its reasoning is supplied to it by the vital which thinks according to its own desires and feelings - unless a great clarity from the psychic or from the thinking mind above comes to the rescue.
It is the psychic consciousness, not perfect but still well developed, that supports some of those whom you mention and makes it easy for them to go on in faith - but it is only after much vital difficulty that it developed in them, - and there is no reason why that should not happen speedily in you also.
It [the physical mind being intuitivised] is when instead of seeing things as they appear to the external mind and senses, one begins to see things about them with a subtler physical mind and sense - e.g. seeing intuitively what is to be done, how to do it, what the object (even so-called inanimate objects) wants or needs, what is likely to happen next (or sometimes sure to happen), what forces are at play on the physical plane etc. etc. Even the body becomes intuitively conscious in this way, feels without being told by the mind what it has to do, what it has to avoid, what is near it or coming to it (though unseen) etc. etc.
Certainly. It [the changed physical mind] can press upon it [the physical vital] the true attitude and feeling, make the incoming of the wrong suggestions and impulsions more difficult and give full force to the true movements. This action of the physical mind is indispensable for the change of the whole physical consciousness even to the most material, though for that the enlightening of the subconscient is indispensable.
(4/5: Mental development - Reading)
For one who wants to practise sadhana, sadhana must come first - reading and mental development can only be subordinate things.
Mental development may or may not help sadhana - if the mind is too intellectually developed on certain rationalistic lines, it may hinder.
I don't know that it [mental work] helps the sadhana and I don't quite understand what is meant by the phrase. What is a fact is that mental work like physical work can be made a part of the sadhana, - not as a rival to the sadhana or as another activity with equal rights and less selfish and egoistic than seeking the Divine.
It is obvious that poetry cannot be a substitute for sadhana; it can be an accompaniment only. If there is a feeling (of devotion, surrender etc.), it can express and confirm it; if there is an experience, it can express and strengthen the force of experience. As reading of books like the Upanishads or Gita or singing of devotional songs can help, especially at one state or another, so this can help also. Also it opens a passage between the external consciousness and the inner mind or vital.
But if one stops at that, then nothing much is gained. Sadhana must be the main thing and sadhana means the purification of the nature, the consecration of the being, the opening of the psychic and the inner mind and vital, the contact and presence of the Divine, the realisation of the Divine in all things, surrender, devotion, the widening of the consciousness into the cosmic Consciousness, the Self one in all, the psychic and the spiritual transformation of the nature. If these things are neglected and only poetry and mental development and social contact occupy all the time, then that is not sadhana. Also the poetry must be written in the true spirit, not for fame or self-satisfaction, but as a means of contact with the Divine through inspiration or of the expression of one's own inner being as it was written formerly by those who left behind them so much devotional and spiritual poetry in India; it does not help if it is written only in the spirit of the western artist or litterateur.
Even works or meditation cannot succeed unless they are done in the right spirit of consecration and spiritual aspiration gathering up the whole being and dominating all else. It is lack of this gathering up of the whole life and nature and turning it towards the one aim, which is the defect in so many here that lowers the atmosphere and stands in the way of what is being done by myself and the Mother.
Study cannot take the same or a greater importance than sadhana.
If the power to meditate long is there, a sadhak will naturally do it and care little for reading - unless he has reached the stage when everything is part of the yogic consciousness because that is permanent. Sadhana is the aim of a sadhak, not mental development. But if he has spare time, those who have the mental turn will naturally spend it in reading or study of some kind.
Dhyâna and work are both helpful for this yoga to those who can do both. Reading also can be made helpful.
Half an hour's meditation in the day ought to be possible - if only to bring a concentrated habit into the consciousness which will help it, first to be less outward in work and, secondly, to develop a receptive tendency which can bear its fruits even in the work.
Yes, reading can be done for the improvement of the mental instrument as part of the sadhana.
In the beginning of the sadhana you need nothing more than just what you say, concentration with faith, devotion and sincerity on a form of the Divine Being - you can add prayer or the name, if you like.
Reading good books can be of help in the early mental stage - they prepare the mind, put it in the right atmosphere, can even, if one is very sensitive, bring some glimpses of realisation on the mental plane. Afterwards the utility diminishes - you have to find every knowledge and experience in yourself.
This is quite a normal movement. In reading these books you get into touch with the Force behind them and it is this that pushes you into meditation and a corresponding experience.
Yes, if one has thought much of one kind of realisation and absorbed the idea deeply - then it is quite natural that the spiritual experience of it should be one of the first to come.
Your objection was to learning languages and specially French as inimical to peace and silence because it meant activity.
The mind, when it is not in meditation or in complete silence, is always active with something or other - with its own ideas or desires or with other people or with things or with talking etc. None of these is any less an activity than learning languages.
Now you shift your ground and say it is because owing to their study they have no time for meditation that you object. That is absurd, for if people want to meditate, they will arrange their time of study for that; if they don't want to meditate, the reason must be something else than study and if they don't study they will simply go on thinking about small things. Want of time is not the cause of their non-meditation and pressure for study is not the cause.
Study and inner silence are good but develop one part of the being only - the inner silence can also support a wider work and life.
It [reading] does not take one inwards in any real sense - it only takes one from the more physical to the more mental part of the external consciousness.
A time must come when the reading as well as any other outward occupation does not interfere with the pressure or activity of the higher consciousness.
The reading must learn to accommodate itself to the pressure - that is, be done by the outer mind while the inner being remains in concentration.
That is good. Reading ought not to absorb the consciousness - there ought to be the larger part behind detached and conscious in a larger way.
You can remember at the beginning and offer your reading to the Divine and at the end again. There is a state of consciousness in which only a part of it is reading or doing the work and behind there is the consciousness of the Divine always.
When the passion for reading or study seizes hold of the mind, it is like that; one wants to spend all the time doing it. It is a force that wants to satisfy itself - like other forces - and takes hold of the consciousness for its purpose. One has to utilise these forces without letting them take hold; for this there must be the central being always in control of the forces of Nature that come to it, deciding for itself the choice of what it shall accept, how use, how arrange their action. Otherwise each Force catches hold of some part of the personality (the student, the social man, the erotic man, the fighter) and uses and drives the being instead of being controlled and used by it.
The movements you describe are not peculiar to you, they are the natural turn of the vital mind and take similar forms in most people. In sadhana this mind has to be quieted like the rest and its energy controlled, transformed and put to proper purpose; but that takes time and comes only with the growth of the larger consciousness. The pressure of these movements is too normal for it to be a good cause for discouragement.
I do not think you should stop reading so long as the reading itself does not, as a passion, fall away from the mind; that happens when a higher order of consciousness and experiences begin within the being. Nor is it good to force yourself too much to do only the one work of painting. Such compulsion of the mind and vital tends usually either to be unsuccessful and make them more restless or else to create some kind of dullness and inertia.
For the work simply aspire for the Force to use you, put yourself inwardly in relation with the Mother when doing it and make it your aim to be the instrument for the expression of beauty without regard to personal fame or the praise and blame of others.
Writing itself on ordinary subjects has the externalising tendency unless one has got accustomed to write (whatever be the subject) with the inner consciousness detached and free from what the outer is doing.
It is not so easy to do mental work and do sadhana at the same time, for it is with the mind that the sadhana is done. If one gets back from the mind as well as the body and lives in the inner Purusha consciousness then it is possible.
The only way is to separate the Prakriti and Purusha. When you feel something within watching all the mental activities but separate from them, just as you can watch things going on outside in the street, then that is the separation of Purusha from mental Prakriti.
That only means that you cannot separate yourself from your mental consciousness in its activity. Naturally, if you take your mental consciousness off the reading, you can't understand what is being read, for it is with the mental consciousness that one understands. You have not to make the mental consciousness separate from the reading, but yourself separate from the mental consciousness. You have to be the Witness watching it reading or writing or talking, just as you watch the body acting or moving.
(5/5 - Mental development - Others)
I see no objection to his going on with his studies, - whether they will be of any use to him for a life of sadhana will depend on the spirit in which he does them. The really important thing is to develop a stage of consciousness in which one can live in the Divine and act from it on the physical world. A mental training and discipline, knowledge of men and things, culture, capacities of a useful kind are a preparation that the sadhak would be all the better for having - even though they are not the one thing indispensable. Education in India gives very little of these things, but if one knows how to study without caring much for the form or for mere academic success, the life of the student can be used for the purpose.
There is no reason why X should not complete his studies or learn something which will make him useful in life. To be useless is not a qualification for yoga.
It does not help for spiritual knowledge to be ignorant of things of this world.
I can't give you a more definite answer. Study is of importance only if you study in the right way and with the turn for knowledge and mental discipline.
Reading and study are only useful to acquire information and widen one's field of data. But that comes to nothing if one does not know how to discern and discriminate, judge, see what is within and behind things.
No, not necessarily. It [study of Logic] is a theoretical training; you learn by it some rules of logical thinking. But the application depends on your own intelligence. In any sphere of knowledge or action a man may be a good theorist but a poor executist. A very good military theorist and critic if put in command of an army might very well lose all his battles, not being able to suit the theories rightly to the occasion. So a theoretical logician may bungle the problems of thought by want of insight, of quickness of mind or of plasticity in the use of his capacities. Besides, logic is not the whole of thinking; observation, intuition, sympathy, many-sidedness are more important.
I am not aware that by learning logic one gets freed from physical things. A few intellectuals lead the mental life and are indifferent to physical needs to a great extent, but these are very few.
Mental training consists of reading, learning about things, acquiring complete and accurate information, training oneself in logical thinking, considering dispassionately all sides of a question, rejecting hasty or wrong inferences and conclusions, learning to look at all things clearly and as a whole.
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.
A well-trained intellect and study are two different things - there are plenty of people who have read much but have not a well-trained intellect. Inertia can come to anybody, even to the most educated people.
A man may have read much and yet be mentally undeveloped. It is by thinking, understanding, receiving mental influences from his intellectual superiors that a man's mind develops.
Intelligence does not depend on the amount one has read, it is a quality of the mind. Study only gives it material for its work as life also does. There are people who do not know how to read and write who are more intelligent than many highly educated people and understand life and things better. On the other hand, a good intelligence can improve itself by reading because it gets more material to work on and grows by exercise and by having a wider range to move in. But book-knowledge by itself is not the real thing, it has to be used as a help to the intelligence but it is often only a help to stupidity or ignorance - ignorance because knowledge of facts is a poor thing if one cannot see their true significance.
There is no such rule. It is better if the mind is strong and developed, but scholarship does not necessarily create a strong and developed mind.
His main grievance with respect to the intellectuals is that he is cut off from all discussion of mental things and mental stimuli and so his mental energies are becoming atrophied. But a man who has a mental life ought surely not to be dependent on others for it, since that life is found within - there ought to be springs within that flow of their own force.
What you can do is to read not for pastime but with the clear intention of furnishing your mind with knowledge.
To read what will help the yoga or what will be useful for the work or what will develop the capacities for the divine purpose. Not to read worthless stuff or for mere entertainment or for a dilettante intellectual curiosity which is of the nature of a mental dram-drinking. When one is established in the highest consciousness, one can read nothing or everything; it makes no difference - but that is still far off.
Writing and reading absorb the mind and fill it with images and influences; if the images and influences are not of the right kind, they naturally turn away from the true consciousness. It is only if one has the true consciousness well established already that one can read or write anything whatever without losing it or without any other harm.
It is not necessary to be in touch with the outside world in this way; it may be useful under certain circumstances and for some purposes. It may act too as a hindrance. All depends upon the consciousness from which it is done.
The reading of books of a light character may act as a relaxation of the mental consciousness. In the early stages it is not always possible to keep the mind to an unbroken spiritual concentration and endeavour and it takes refuge in other occupations, feeling even instinctively drawn to those of a lighter character.
It depends upon the nature of the things read whether they are helpful to the growth of the being or not. No general rule can be made. It cannot be said that poetry or dramas ought or ought not to be read - it depends on the poem and the play - so with the rest.
It depends on the nature of the book. Philosophy makes the mind subtle in certain directions - or ought to do so. The only harm it can do is if the mind begins clinging to ideas instead of going forward to direct experience.
Yes, that is the right way to read these things. These philosophies are mostly mental intuitions mixed with much guessing (speculation), but behind, if one knows, one can catch some Truth to which they correspond.
I don't know that there is anything false in your philosophical reflections. Philosophy is of course a creation of the mind but its defect is not that it is false, but that a philosophical system is only a section of the Truth which the philosopher takes as a whole. If one does not shut oneself up like that but looks at all sides, there is no harm in philosophising.
The Divine Truth is greater than any religion or creed or scripture or idea or philosophy - so you must not tie yourself to any of these things.
I do not know about this Commentary, but most commentaries on the Upanishads are written out of the reasoning and speculating intellect. They may be of use to people who are trying to find out intellectually the meaning of the Upanishads - but they can be of no help to you as a sadhak who are seeking experience, - it is likely rather to confuse the mind by taking it off the true basis and throwing it out from the road of experience and spiritual receptivity into the tangle of intellectual debate.
Metaphysics deals with the ultimate cause of things and all that lies behind the world of phenomena. As regards mind and consciousness, it asks what they are, how they came into existence, what is their relation to Matter, Life, etc. Psychology deals with mind and consciousness and tries to find out not so much their ultimate nature and relations as their actual workings and the rule and law of these workings.
I think some knowledge of science will be most useful to you - that field is quite a blank for most people here, and yet the greater part of modern thought and knowledge is influenced by it.
I don't quite know about the novel. People bring in the relations of man and woman because it has been the habit for centuries to make every novel turn around that - except in the few which deal with history or adventure or similar things. In a novel based on spiritual philosophy should not the man and woman idea go into the background or disappear, the spiritual love not having anything based at all on sex, but on the relation between soul and soul?
The only harm in reading these things is that the vital makes it an excuse for sexual excitement. Otherwise there is no harm in reading for knowledge - the facts of existence have to be known, and we should learn them with a free and dispassionate mind. But such reading has to be avoided, if there is any vital reaction.
It is not against the principle of yogic life to know what is happening in the world - what is unyogic is to be attached to these things and not able to do without them or to think of them as a matter of main importance. The all-important thing must be the sadhana, the growth into a new consciousness and a new inner life. The rest must be done with detachment and without getting absorbed in them. The feeling must be such that if the Mother were to tell you never to see a newspaper at all, it would be no deprivation to you and you would not even feel the difference.
Obviously there are many things that apply to all equally and cannot be avoided in that way. The dictum that each has his own way is not true; each has his own way of following the common way and the own way may often be very defective.
Of course it is true that natures are different and the approach whether to the sadhana or to other things. One can say generally that newspaper reading or novel reading is not helpful to the sadhana and is at least a concession to the vital which is not yet ready to be absorbed in the sadhana - unless and until one is able to read in the right way with a higher consciousness which is not only not disturbed by the reading or distracted by it from the concentrated yoga-consciousness but is able to make the right use of what is read from the point of view of the inner consciousness and the inner life.
Reasons given of course prove nothing - they may be only excuses put forward by the mind for doing what the vital wants.
The newspapers obviously carry with them a lowering atmosphere. It is a question of fact whether one can separate oneself sufficiently not to be pulled down by it. At the time of reading there is certainly a lower pitch of the consciousness in the frontal or outward parts. Only, if one has a consciousness behind which is not affected, then one can revert immediately after reading to the normal higher level.
Merely following external rules cannot of course be sufficient. They are only an aid to the inner effort until the inner consciousness is thoroughly established. Usually much reading of newspapers in the ordinary way keeps one attached to the ordinary view and vision of things and interested in that - when one has the inner consciousness one can see things happening in the world with another eye of knowledge and then reading can be of some use, though even then most of what is published is empty and futile. But the mere not-reading by itself is not effective. Also if one has need of a distraction, reading newspapers serves the purpose.
To be interested in outward things is not wrong in itself - it depends on the way in which one is interested. If it is done as part of the sadhana, looking on them from the true consciousness, then they become a means for the growth of the being. It is that that matters, to get the true consciousness - and it is this that comes in you when you have the sense of the Peace and the working of the Force in it. There is no real reason for discontent or dissatisfaction with yourself - since progress is being made in spite of the resistance of the lower forces. The pressure which is translated by the heaviness in the stomach has to be got rid of - it is there that there is the chief resistance still. Peace within and a cheerful confidence and gladness without is what is wanted - then this kind of nervous pressure and disorder would cease.
One does not learn English or French as an aid to the sadhana; it is done for the development of the mind and as part of the activity given to the being. For that purpose learning French is as good as learning English and, if it is properly done, better.
Nor is there any reason, if one has the capacity, to limit oneself to one language only.
Knowing languages is part of the equipment of the mind.
It depends on what you want to do with the language. If it is only to read the literature, then to learn to read, pronounce and understand accurately is sufficient. If it is a complete mastery one wants, then conversation and writing have to be thoroughly learned in the language.
It depends; to read many books quickly gives freedom and ease and familiarity with the language. The other method is necessary for thoroughness and accuracy in detail.
It is the thinking mind that works out ideas - the externalising mental or physical mind gives them form in words. Probably you have not developed this part sufficiently. The gift of verbal expression is comparatively rare. Most people are either clumsy in expression or if they write abundantly, it is without proper arrangement and style. But this is of no essential importance in sadhana - all that is needed is to convey clearly the perceptions and experiences of the sadhana.
I never heard that learning logic was necessary for good expression. So far as I know, very few good writers ever bothered about learning that subject.
The power of expression comes by getting into touch with the inner source from which these things come. A calm and silent mind is a great help for the free flow of the power, but it is not indispensable, nor will it of itself bring it.
The Knowledge from above or whatever comes down can express itself in any language.
When the knowledge comes strongly from above, it very often brings its own language and the defects of the instrument are overcome. There are people who knew very little but when the knowledge began to flow they wrote wonderfully - when it was not flowing, their language became incorrect and ordinary.
Expression is another matter, but Ramakrishna was an uneducated, non-intellectual man, yet his expression of knowledge was so perfect that the biggest intellects bowed down before it.
Thought and expression always give one side of things; the thing is to see the whole but one can express only a part unless one writes a long essay. Most thinkers do not even see the whole, only sides and parts - that is why there is always conflict between philosophies and religions.
What is expressed is only a part of what is behind - which remains unexpressed and in the language of the manifestation inexpressible.
The voice brings a vibration of force which it is more difficult to put in writing which is a more mechanic vehicle - although the written word can have a special power of its own.
in SABCL, volume 24, pages 1243-1286
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA