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A Talk on Yoga


August 8, 1973

In the course of our evolution we have come to a certain point. We are at a certain point. Whether we want it or not we are evolving in a certain direction. It is necessary that we should find where we are - vitally where we are, emotionally where we are, in every part of being, where we are. All these parts of being together make up the spiritual status. The moment you know where you are, you will understand that you can take only the next step, you cannot take a step which is socially or mentally satisfying. That is when one runs after what cannot be achieved and runs into difficulties. Suppose a person finds himself to be perfectly useless. The discovery that one is perfectly useless is wisdom. It makes possible progress, it makes for great fulfillment, for a very rich life. When a man is perfectly useless, if he is always thinking he must do something very useful, he is in his thought, he is in his mind. When he discovers that he is perfectly useless and the next step is to get rid of the uselessness, he is making spiritual progress, he centers himself at the spiritual center, the being leads him.

In practical terms, what does one do? Sri Aurobindo talks of the Integral Yoga. He says yoga is not to be done from any part of the being, it has to be done from the central being. This Integral Yoga psychologically turns out to be the surrender of the ego. When I say one has to begin from where he is, what should I do? Is the question. Examine the areas wherever you have a right - a legal right, a social right, a right of courtesy, a physical right, a mental right and be prepared, teach yourself that all these rights you have no right to exercise. If we live in a room, we feel, "This is my room. I live in this room, I lock this room". It's alright. It is a formality. It is a way of expressing. We must know it is not our room at all. And in practical terms, to relinquish the right over the room for which we pay is not so easy. But when it is accomplished, when we feel it is not our room, it is Mother's room, Mother in Her wisdom can put anybody there; She may make you pay for this room and you may sleep in the rain, and somebody else will occupy this room. This is a very difficult thing to swallow but that is where spiritual discipline starts.

Not only that. When you voluntarily relinquish taking initiative, through a self-initiative, when you relinquish all the known rights, your desires remain. I am not talking of great desires. I am talking of desires which appear to be sins in the eyes of the world. I am talking of desires such as, "I prefer to sleep near the window rather than away from the window". This itself is a physical desire. And when that desire comes, I am not asking for a great renunciation. What should be done at least is, we must recognize that it is a desire and that it is not spiritual. The desire is not to be insisted upon, whether one is able to renounce the desire in the beginning or not, we must first recognize that it is a desire. We must classify all these desires and say, "Well, this is a desire. This desire is in me. I am not here to indulge this desire. The best thing I can never do with this desire is not to indulge it. I should not act according to this desire". At least this knowledge must be there in a person. It is difficult but it will be very elevating and fulfilling when you do this.

When you hear something pleasant, as and when the pleasant words come and fall on you, as and when a pleasant touch comes to you, it is always possible for you to see all the reactions, all the responses, your entire status immediately. And the very first reaction is the most important. The very first reaction must be either the Divine name, or the Divine figure or the Divine Consciousness. The name and figure are human. The Divine Consciousness is nearer to the Divine. When you think of the name, the mind enters. When you see a figure, the visual aspect of the mind enters. When the Pure Consciousness is felt, nameless and formless, it is a higher status.

This awareness of the Divine Consciousness, this perception can be seen more than once a day. But what to do to keep it longer and more fully? What removes the perception? A simple desire arises. A very simple desire. You are sitting erect, you begin to feel tired, you want to lean. This is a physical desire. It is time for food, you must eat. Not because the Divine in you needs a healthy body to live in, but because food is food, it's so good; food is good and you must eat! Such simple desires. The moment these desires come, the perception goes.

Very often you say, "Oh, this thing I can't give up, here I can't change". You feel an attachment. "What is this? This is my book, this is my tape-recorder. This is mine, I have paid for it. I have owned it for a long time". Rights come. The rights, desires and attachments manage to oust the perception. These things are easy to get rid of. What is not so easy is the need for security.

Security is sought in a government job, it is sought in money, it is sought in property. All that can be got rid of in the initial stages. If one seeks security in a mental opinion, it is very difficult to get rid of. If even that is got rid of, one seeks security in emotional attachments. It is more difficult. Then, man evolves. He gives up his social securities, he gives up his material securities, he gives up his mental securities, he gives up his emotional securities. He comes to the Divine. Here also, he has given up the lower forms of security but the pattern of seeking security still remains. He seeks security in the Spirit, in the Divine. This is better than the previous position but again, as I said, all sense of importance should go, all sense of right should go, all sense of desire should go. You should not seek security in the Divine. The Divine gives security, that is the duty of the Divine, but that is the Divine's yoga, not the individuals. The individual who is seeking security from the Divine consciousness must know that in the guise of seeking spiritual security, he stations himself on the mental plane; all that he does is seek security. Security, even in the form of spiritual security, should not be sought. Importance, even in the form of spiritual importance, should not be felt; right, even in the guise of the desire to do right, must not be there. If these are given up, the capacity to will, the act of volition would have been lost. Then one is blessed. That is the right indication that one is on the right path. One is on the path where he should be.

In any given situation, there is a response from us. Sometimes there is a reaction. Nature, the human nature in us, reacts. The Divine Consciousness in us responds. One may ask, "How am I to know whether I am right?" If you have no desire to know whether you are right or wrong, it is easy to have the right perception. Reaction is always disturbing. Response is always elevating. If there is a response there will be a vibration of peace along with it. If it is a reaction, either there will be a disturbance, if not, there will be an excitement, if that is not there, there will be satisfaction.

Having done up to this, having developed this perception, allowing the Divine to do the Yoga in us, having withdrawn our desires, attachments, rights, securities, capacities to will and all, having surrendered everything, what happens? Do we achieve union with the Divine? Has the yoga been completed? The yoga begins. On the surface of your nature you will see all the ingredients of your character, coming and presenting themselves. Each prominent ingredient of one's nature, one's character, one's personality will come and present themselves. They present themselves not to be exercised, they present themselves to be EXCISED. As and when they present themselves, if you invoke the Divine and offer what is there on the surface, rootless, you find that, like a layer of mud being washed away, things just disappear.

Life and life situations bring the surface nature in full measure, inwardly and outwardly. Let us take a day, completely subjected to an observation. Don't do anything - don't have opinions, don't have judgments, just observe. At the end of the day, review the day that has passed. Because you have been observing and not forming opinions, judgments or reactions, those things would be rootless; they will just again present themselves to you at the end of the day. Offer them all to the Divine, consecrate, detach yourself. The whole thing will just go. If they do not go, they will become loose, less rigid. At the end of the day, examine the whole day that is past, plan the whole day ahead of you. This way, if a scrupulous, meticulous examination is followed, every bit of oneself, every small fragment of one's character, raises itself and constantly presents on the surface. We can gladly part with them. Some of them give pain. And for the subsequent day they will have less hold on one.

This process, in my experience, as I understand, in about 6 to 7 days, gives a wide freedom, a great opening in the being. Undeviating adherence, single-minded attention, must be given to the opening yogic vistas which are enormous. In psychological terms, if this is done, man hangs in the mid-air. Socially he will have nobody to relate to; psychologically he will find himself in an elevating vacuum; mentally he will see that mind is infinity. Spiritually he becomes perceptive. Physically he appears to be fluff. This is a very desirable condition. It is a condition in which yoga can be very easily done. Yoga will get itself done without our effort.

story | by Dr. Radut