We have got four statements so far. One is that the shastra of Integral Yoga is in the heart of every individual who is thinking and living. You remember the first sentence about the shastra of Integral Yoga: it is the eternal Veda which is in the heart of each and every individual. So that even if there is nobody in the world to tell you about it, even if no book exists in the world, even then as you move forward and you refer to your inner heart the Integral Yoga will manifest on its own. You don’t need anything: no book no teacher. You don’t need anything because it is already in your heart. The second statement is that many people require a word –– sabda, the word, the revelation. It may be an oral word or a written word. This is the second way of shastra: a written shastra or an oral shastra. Of the written shastra there are two: the scriptures which are revealed by the Divine Himself and the others not revealed but scientifically codified. We already made a distinction between the Veda on the one hand and the Sutra of Patanjali. Veda is a revealed scripture whereas Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra is a scientific code. Shastras can be of two kinds oral or written and both of them can be scriptures or scientific codes. Lastly, there is a need of a word coming from a living teacher. There may be an oral tradition or a written tradition but apart from that it may also come to you through the teaching of a teacher. A teacher reveals… as you move forward a teacher comes and at every stage says you have reached here you now move forward there. That is also shastra –– shastra coming out of the teacher as you move forward. This is what we have been told.
And Sri Aurobindo says that Integral Yoga has a speciality which is not available anywhere and that is to declare, “All life is Yoga” meaning thereby that whatever is the result of inconscient can be eliminated from life and the entire life can become divinised. It is a speciality of the Integral Yoga: the entire life is concerned. Life is always integral, whenever you do any little thing which is living you will find that all the elements of your being are present. Life is always many–sided, multi–sided, all–sided. There are basically three sides of our life: the cognitive side (cognitive means that which is concerned with knowledge), the affective side (which is concerned with affection, feeling, emotion), and the conative side (conation means inclination to act). All the three elements are present in every activity of life. It is by artificiality that you may divide one from the other. But in life all the three are present all the time, it is integral always. Therefore the natural method where life is the instrument of yoga is that it has to be integral. And then finally Sri Aurobindo says the Integral Yoga even though it has general lines of development still every individual individualises it in his own manner. Right. This is the summary of the entire chapter so far on what we have done about shastra.
Now we come to the next. This is regarding utsaha, the role of the sadhaka himself.
You may have knowledge of the shastra but if you don’t have aspiration then the shastra is a dead letter. There must be enthusiasm in the individual to pursue the goal of Integral Yoga. Therefore, what is the role of the individual himself?
In ancient India there was a very important system. The pupil was required to search out a teacher. Not like the present system where teacher is appointed first and then waits for the pupils to come. Pupils don’t have to make a big effort to find out teachers, they are available in the schools. But such was not the case in ancient India, the very system was such that a pupil had to find out and had to move onwards and onwards in search of a teacher. So the starting point was not the teacher but the pupil. Apart from shastra the starting point of yoga is the pupil himself. The pupil has to lift his hand in a manner of call then the teacher may come from above and may lift him up. The role of the teacher is only uplifting, not lifting. Lifting has to be done by the pupil himself. He lifts himself above, calls out, aspires, then the teacher also answers. Uplifting the effort of the pupil is the instruction, example and influence of the teacher. This is the relationship between the pupil and the teacher. If the pupil has no enthusiasm then the pupil will find that the teacher does not come forth. So, Sri Aurobindo now tells us what is the role of the pupil, what is the role of effort, what is the role of aspiration.
“The development of the experience in its rapidity, its amplitude, the intensity and power of its results, depends primarily, in the beginning of the path and long after, on the aspiration and personal effort of the sadhaka.” How far you will move in the yoga, what kind of results, what fullness of experiences you will get, what will be the results will depend –– in the beginning at least and even after beginning for long time after –– upon the pupil. This is a very good warning to every student: do not blame; make an effort on your side, be sure the teacher will be always there. Such an example you will find in The Mahabharata. Arjuna came to a crisis and simply declared: “I will not fight.” And Sri Krishna simply smiled and rebuked him as a friend, not as a teacher. Then when it really became critical his mind, he asked, made an aspiration, lifted his hand and said: “Please, tell me what is the right thing to do?” And then he suddenly found that the one with whom he was standing was himself the teacher. The moment you aspire you will find the teacher always standing near you. This is the promise of God to man that he has arranged the world in such a way that when you are really in crisis, when you really want a teacher the teacher will come, he is available. But on your part you should be aspiring, you must aspire and say: “Oh! I want to know.” The teacher is always there. In this process of yoga the individual aspires, he makes a personal effort.