Question: I wanted to ask was that our present condition is determined by our past, but is there a way we can move faster, accelerate our growth inspite of the past?
By the law of contagion. There is the law of contagion in this world. What we are at present, if left to itself, because there is inwardly the Divine, inside, there will be a pressure from below all the time, and gradually it can change. But fortunately Divine is also above and behind, not only inside, but also above and behind. So, if this comes into contact with the Divine that is behind, around, more and more, then there will be a rapid progression of this, by law of contagion.
In very simple terms, in India, we speak of Satsangha. You be in touch with the Good and the Right and the Beautiful, and the Truthful, the more you are in touch, the greater is your movement towards higher and higher. So, not merely the past determines you, but also the contagion that you receive from the touch, that also determines you and you become freer and freer to move upwards.
Question: Then one tends to keep oneself purely in the company of only like–minded people and does not move into the whole world, so to say, to be contaminated (in other words). Is it what you are trying to say?
If you can do it effectively, my answer is yes. But it is very difficult for you, to be isolated. If you can successfully do it, it is good. Many people have tried this experiment, and there has been a great success in many ways. Even the religions have produced monasteries. Ultimate justification of monasteries is precisely this: to keep an isolated group away from all contagion of the lower, so there is only contagion of the better. It does not succeed ultimately because the pressure of the surrounding is very great. Some people went away to Himalayas, for what reason? To be free from the contagion of the ordinary and you remain alone in the atmosphere of quietude, serenity and in the company of lonely and huge and lofty mountains, and so all the time you think of lofty, of the wide, of the free.
Comment: But is there not a contradiction with this world, be apart of this world?
Therefore, even if you do that, it does not ultimately succeeded because when you come to act in the world, even if after you become right, when you come to act in the world, you find you are not competent, you have lost something.
That is why justification of Karmayoga. That you should very gradually move forward in such a way that you constantly fight against the circumstances which have not run away from them, not exclude yourself from them, but fight with them, but fight in a very intelligent manner, and gradually grow. Then when you come out, you have mastery over the circumstances, and you can be an instrument of action, so you can really sovereignly act in the world.
In other words, the problem that you are raising is a very important problem which constantly is raised for everybody who wants to move very fast on the spiritual express train. How to move very fast? Because at a certain time our aspiration becomes so intense that we want to surmount all the difficulties, at one stroke as it were. But the world is not created merely for an express movement. The very intention in the world is a very gradual development. This gradual development comes gradually more and more speedy, so there is a logic in the movement of the world: that’s why Sri Aurobindo says that a good Yogi looks upon time as an instrument, as an aid, and first of all, it seizes its whole field in which it is working, kṣetra, in which you become the knower of the kṣetra.