This shastra, Sri Aurobindo says, is present in every one of us. If you really have a great aspiration to know it, you can know it by yourself, you don’t need anybody. By internal processes of observation and experimentation you can discover it. And therefore many people who are really powerful don’t need the help. They discover by themselves or one word is enough. There is the story of Kabir. Kabir was a great poet and a great yogi. He lived in Benares. It is said that as a young boy he has no house, he had to sleep on the steps of a ghat near the temple, near the river Ganga. One day a yogi, in the early morning before the sunrise, pitch darkness, simply went down the steps of that ghat, and unknowingly put his foot on the body of Kabir who was sleeping. And he simply said the name of God and as he uttered this word Kabir awoke but awoke with a new consciousness. One word was enough, the name of God was enough and he himself became a yogi. He did not go to any teacher afterwards. In one second by one word he was awakened. The very fact that even after hundreds of years we are now remembering him at this moment and his poems are read and re–read and recited by millions of people of India shows that he attained such a tremendously high consciousness and affected the people. He brought Muslims and Hindus together in harmony. This is one of the great works he did in his life. So this yoga is already present in us, the shastra is present in us. And sometimes it can be unsealed even with one word.
There are many ways by which this knowledge can come. There is a very interesting paragraph in Chapter II (p.63). Sri Aurobindo tells us how you can enter into yoga, what are the different ways to enter into yoga. “All Yoga is in its nature a new birth [It is a tremendously powerful statement]; it is a birth out of the ordinary, the mentalised material life of man into a higher spiritual consciousness and a greater and diviner being. No Yoga can be successfully undertaken and followed unless there is a strong awakening to the necessity of that larger spiritual existence. The soul that is called to this deep and vast inward change, may arrive in different ways to the initial departure.” The starting point may come from different sides. You are entering into yoga with one method now and there are different people who can enter with different ways and now Sri Aurobindo gives the different ways by which you can enter. “It may come to it by its own natural development which has been leading it unconsciously towards the awakening;” by gradual, natural development. Many people don’t have a sudden awakening like Kabir had. It may come by a natural rhythm of a long period of life, thirty, forty years one leads an ordinary life, but gradually it grows and then comes the period of awakening. “…it may reach it through the influence of a religion or the attraction of a philosophy; it may approach it by a slow illumination or leap to it by a sudden touch or shock; it may be pushed or led to it by the pressure of outward circumstances or by an inward necessity, by a single word that breaks the seals of the mind or by long reflection, by the distant example of one who has trod the path or by contact and daily influence. According to the nature and the circumstances the call will come.” This is how one departs into yoga — by many methods. This is by way of introducing what we are reading up till now in the first Chapter. We have read: “Ordinarily, the Word from without” is necessary; a word should be revealed to you by somebody. It is the normal method.
“But usually the representative influence occupies a much larger place in the life of the sadhaka. If the Yoga is guided by a received written Shastra, — some Word from the past which embodies the experience of former Yogins, — it may be practised either by personal effort alone or with the aid of a Guru. The spiritual knowledge is then gained through meditation on the truths that are taught and it is made living and conscious by their realisation in the personal experience…”
Reading the word meditation we had made an excursion and we were just about to understand what is meditation when we suspended the class. So now let us go back to that part of this book where meditation is explained.
What is meditation? (p.307) “Concentration is of two kinds: meditation and contemplation”. These are two words. There is a process called meditation and a process called contemplation. Some concentrations are meditative and some concentrations are contemplative. Even in ordinary life we do meditation and contemplation. But as we do not examine the powers of meditation or of contemplation we don’t derive much result. But if like psychologists we know what is the secret of meditation and of contemplation we can derive a tremendous result. Sri Aurobindo analyses what is the secret of meditation.
“This concentration proceeds by the idea”. This is a very important word: idea. Without idea you cannot have meditation. Meditation is ideative in character. You should have an idea. An idea using thought, form, name, –– three things: thought, form and name. We ask what is in a name. But name sometimes is very important for opening the gates. As I told you last time there is something like a magic in the process of yoga. Outwardly it looks very simple but if you go into the depth of it, a miraculous result will come. So thought, form and name — very ordinary things. We have plenty of thoughts in our mind, it is not as if we have to go far to seek. There are many forms in us, there are so many names hovering around in our consciousness but the secret lies in catching one thought out of so many, one name, one form. That is where the scientist comes into the picture. Whatever is running about in our consciousness, pick up one thing, which thing? That only the psychologist will tell you, that is, the yogi will tell you. So “it proceeds by the idea using thought, form and name as keys which yield up to the concentrating mind the truth that lies concealed behind all thought, form and name”. There is a discovery of the Truth. We have said yoga is the discovery of the Divine Being or Divine Love or Divine Will or all the three. The central knowledge is the knowledge of the Divine Being, the Divine Truth. So if you want to know the truth, the key to the truth is in seizing upon a thought, form and name and piercing through it so that truth is seized. “It is through the idea that the mental being rises beyond all expression to that which is expressed, to that of which the idea itself is only the instrument.” It is a key by which the lock can be opened. “By concentration upon the idea” this is an important point — you take an idea and “by concentration upon the idea the mental existence, which at present we are, breaks open the barrier”. If you just concentrate upon the idea then the barrier between you and the truth breaks down. And you arrive at a state of “consciousness, a state of being, a state of power and bliss of the conscious–being to which the idea corresponds and of which it is a symbol, movement and rhythm.” You select that idea, out of so many ideas you may have, of which you want to know the truth.