Ordinary life

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(Sri Aurobindo to his wife, 1920:) “Would you always remain like this? “I shall dress well, eat good food, laugh and dance and enjoy all possible pleasures” — such a state of mind is not called progress. Nowadays the life of women in our country has assumed a very narrow and humiliating form. Abandon all these things and come with me. We have come to the world to do God's work, let us begin it.”[1]

(Mother:) “A person gets married, he has children and everything else but he is not happy at all. At the end he falls into the chasm of death and again he comes into this world – this goes on and on, and on... until he finds the Truth.”[2]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “The life of the human creature, as it is ordinarily lived, is composed of a half-fixed, half-fluid mass of very imperfectly ruled thoughts, perceptions, sensations, emotions, desires, enjoyments, acts, mostly customary and self-repeating, in part only dynamic and self-developing, but all centred around a superficial ego. The sum of movement of these activities eventuates in an internal growth which is partly visible and operative in this life, partly a seed of progress in lives hereafter. This growth of the conscious being, an expansion, an increasing self-expression, a more and more harmonised development of his constituent members is the whole meaning and all the pith of human existence. It is for this meaningful development of consciousness by thought, will, emotion, desire, action and experience, leading in the end to a supreme divine self-discovery, that Man, the mental being, has entered into the material body. All the rest is either auxiliary and subordinate or accidental and otiose; that only matters which sustains and helps the evolution of his nature and the growth or rather the progressive unfolding and discovery of his self and spirit.
         The aim set before our Yoga is nothing less than to hasten this supreme object of our existence here. Its process leaves behind the ordinary tardy method of slow and confused growth through the evolution of Nature. For the natural evolution is at its best an uncertain growth under cover, partly by the pressure of the environment, partly by a groping education and an ill-lighted purposeful effort, an only partially illumined and half-automatic use of opportunities with many blunders and lapses and relapses; a great portion of it is made up of apparent accidents and circumstances and vicissitudes, — though veiling a secret divine intervention and guidance. In Yoga we replace this confused crooked crab-motion by a rapid, conscious and self-directed evolution which is planned to carry us, as far as can be, in a straight line towards the goal set before us.”[3]

(Mother:) “If people go from here and start living an ordinary life, indeed then they are nowhere and their lives become ugly. I do not really want them to do so.”[4]

(Sri Aurobindo:) “In the ordinary human existence an outgoing action is obviously three-fourths or even more of our life. It is only the exceptions, the saint and the seer, the rare thinker, poet and artist who can live more within themselves; these indeed, at least in the most intimate parts of their nature, shape themselves more in inner thought and feeling than in the surface act. But it is not either of these sides separated from the other, but rather a harmony of the inner and the outer life made one in fullness and transfigured into a play of something that is beyond them which will create the form of a perfect living.”[5]

  1. Bengali writings translated into English, p.354
  2. Huta, Mother You said so..., p.64
  3. The Synthesis of Yoga, p.89, “Self-Surrender in Works – The Way of the Gita”
  4. Huta, Mother You said so..., p.12
  5. Ibid., p.91

See also