‘LETTERS ON YOGA’ AND ‘QUESTIONS & ANSWERS’
At the beginning, when one has experiences as powerful as the one, for example, that I had in Chartres, or as intense as the ones given by the Psychic Being (= the Being of our Soul) within us, one is quite disappointed and saddened and anxious if one sees them not last, and give place again apparently to the same state of consciousness one was in before… One is sometimes asking oneself, ‘But then, what is the use of all those fabulous experiences where one is in such an incredible state of consciousness, if later on one tumbles down back to one’s usual level of consciousness? Okay, that’s true, at least one has had indeed those great experiences, but… then what??? Do they mean any real progress?…’
But as years pass, one starts becoming aware of the result…
It is as if a whole preliminary amount of work was necessary at one level or another of our being – often without our mental consciousness realizing it – before the decisive push can happen and does happen, a sudden breakthrough to another state of consciousness.
In the same way, after that abrupt breakthrough has happened, but only temporarily, months or even years are usually needed before the long term effects of that breakthrough become perceptible, first from time to time, then often, and then at last in a practically permanent manner, a new acquisition that has become ‘normal’ for our consciousness – so ‘normal’ that, already not remembering anymore how one used to be before, one doesn’t fully realize the enormous change that the newly stabilized condition constitutes!
Something which helped me a lot and keeps helping me to understand and put into perspective the various experiences I may have had over the years, and which continue under all kinds of forms (like that of this very recent experience with the earth, Gaia, or like what happens at the cellular level), is reading the ‘Letters on Yoga’, three volumes of answers by Sri Aurobindo to the letters written by some disciples to obtain explanations and advice from him about their inner life, dedicated as much as possible to the Integral Yoga created by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for the process of Conscious Evolution now made necessary by the new evolutive step beginning to happen upon Earth.
When I had read the book written by Satprem (a particularly inspired French disciple, and a writer) at Mother’s request, about Sri Aurobindo, book for which Satprem had chosen the title ‘Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness’, the accent obviously was upon Sri Aurobindo, and the spiritual experiences described were his; i had been extremely impressed, but at the same time it had somehow discouraged me in advance, for all that seemed to me so extraordinary, I was unable to see how ordinary human beings such as me could ever have this kind of experiences. I had started seeing the enormity of the changes required for the evolutive transformation envisaged, and unless by a miracle, or even some repeated miracles, how could such changes ever take place, for example in my being?…
That says how much I have been surprised and filled with wonder when, almost immediately after my arrival in Auroville, I began having in a totally unexpected manner numerous and diverse spiritual experiences, just as if some inner motor had been switched on!!! These are not things one usually chats about with friends – and anyway, who would have had the true knowledge for helping me? – Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were not there physically any longer to be consulted, so I didn’t know very well any more what was going on and what were those things that I was living.
This is the time when the ‘Letters on Yoga’ saved me, for often there was at least an extract or two of the description given by a disciple or another of the inner experience about which he needed some clarifications, and often I recognized then a type of experience that I too had just had. The comments by Sri Aurobindo
in his answer became then twice as interesting, not being anymore for me merely theoretical and so, abstract, but absolutely concrete, and a precious help in most cases.
For the beginner that I was, the ‘Questions & Answers’ by the Mother, those oral but recorded explanations that she gave for years to the youth educated at the Ashram School, have been a blessing too. As it was children she was speaking to, giving them, under the guise of ‘French classes’, a full basic understanding of spirituality, it was in very simple terms that she was expressing herself, most often without the Indian terminology that Sri Aurobindo on the contrary, writing to adults who had grown up with the traditional language, was almost forced to use.
Between those two sources of information of which I was avidly gulping pages and volumes, I quickly found for myself some points of reference in that universe of spirituality which I had entered without being familiar with it. Furthermore, having full trust in Sri Aurobindo and Mother, those two inner guides with whom I could feel a deeper and deeper connection although they both were supposedly ‘dead’, I didn’t hesitate to ask them inwardly any question that I didn’t find quickly the answer to in their writings. And to my great satisfaction, every time with the same wonder again, I would always get my answer, the answer that would enlighten me fully on the point in question.
My increasing familiarity with all those texts has gradually made of me a ‘specialist’, in the eyes of some other persons in Auroville less inclined or giving themselves less time to read. What saved me, luckily, from becoming one of those frightening scholars as we all have met, is that I had also the personal experience of what I was studying, not just the theoritical knowledge; that prevented me from ever falling into the dogmatism so dangerous for the mere theoriticians who don’t realize what infinite nuances the living experience can present, from one person to another.
The importance given by Sri Aurobindo to certain details taught me the necessity to observe with scrupulous exactitude the unfolding of an experience while it was happening, and then to note it all down with the same scrupulous exactitude. What had seemed to me weird and incomprehensible at the time, but that I had had the courage not to cut or to modify in my notes often revealed itself later on as a particularly significant and revealing detail, a key for the precise understanding of the experience.
This training I deliberately imposed to myself proved very useful afterwards, after 1984 (beginning of the ‘Laboratory of Evolution’) when I started to really keep a diary of my inner life. How many times did I feel happy that I did! Major experiences one would never imagine one could forget do fade away little by little, or their real unfolding doesn’t remain unchanged in our memory. One is astonished sometimes, when reading again one’s notes, to see to which extent our recollection of them differed from the actual notes…
As this excellent clairvoyant, J., said during her Review of my Past Lives (see recent post), I do have an extremely developed mental power; that becomes precious when one is, as I am, by nature not only a mystic thirsty for experiences of the Divine, but also a researcher thirsty for understanding each experience in itself and the whole growing picture that they form all together. Once the understanding is there, that well organized mind gives me also the capacity to explain to others in many different ways what I have myself lived and understood. And since a year this blog has added itself as a new means of expression about this conscious evolution process that has been for forty years all my life, and is becoming day after day the life of a growing number of other human beings on this planet Earth in full transformation too…