We come to the third domain. Sri Aurobindo has spoken of the third element in the very first paragraph of this chapter.
“There intervenes, third, uplifting our knowledge and effort into the domain of spiritual experience, the direct suggestion, example and influence of the Teacher — guru.” There are three things, first uplifting our knowledge and effort. Already effort put our hands upwards. The teacher comes to uplift our hands which are already upwards. That is the first function of the teacher. Uplifting our knowledge and effort, and this effort is uplifted so high that we can enter into the spiritual experience. And then there are three important words, the direct suggestion, example and influence. These are the three key words in every process of teaching. The teacher does not teach as much as he suggests. There is a difference between teaching and suggestion. A good teacher suggests. Even his instruction, if normally the teacher gives lectures, these lectures should be in the form of suggestions. It is not a taskmaster giving instructions which have to be obeyed and fulfilled. A good teacher does not instruct as much as to suggest. A teacher suggests, then he gives example of himself, so he does not teach exactly but he does perform within himself what he wants to convey to the others. He provides an example. And third is the influence. This word of influence is a very delicate word. What is influence? I shall come to that word very shortly, but I just wanted to underline first the words uplifting our knowledge and effort and second the domain of spiritual experience and third his suggestion example and influence. And now that we are reading on the Teacher we should mark where Sri Aurobindo refers to these three things.
“As the supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every man, so its supreme Guide and Teacher is the inner Guide, the World–Teacher, jagad–guru, secret within us. It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge; that light becomes within us the increasing glory of his own self–revelation. He discloses progressively in us his own nature of freedom, bliss, love, power, immortal being. He sets above us his divine example as our ideal and transforms the lower existence into a reflection of that which it contemplates. By the inpouring of his own influence and presence into us he enables the individual being to attain to identity with the universal and transcendent.”
There is a theory in India: without the teacher you can never–never–never attain the Divine. That is why people in India are always advised to find out a Teacher. Normally when this is said the teacher is referred to as any good human being who is supposed to have the power, knowledge experience which he can transmit to his pupil. Therefore in India people are in search of what is called a human teacher. When, in this paragraph, Sri Aurobindo uses the word teacher he does not refer to any human teacher, he refers to the World–Teacher, he refers to the inner Guide. Just as the shastra of the Integral Yoga is not contained in any book similarly the teacher to whom we have to refer or to whom we have to turn is not any human teacher but the Divine Teacher. He is the Divine himself. It is this Divine Teacher who is in our heart. Just as the shastra is in the heart similarly the Teacher also is in our heart. The place of the human teacher is subordinate –– he is a concession you might say. If you need him you can have him but it is not necessary that we should have a human teacher. The Teacher is always there with you, in you.
Now what is the mark of that teacher? How do you experience him? “It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge; that light becomes within us the increasing glory of his own self–revelation.” These two sentences are very difficult to understand although linguistically they are not difficult. But let us try to understand them. “It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge…” First there is the concept of darkness and then there is the concept of resplendent light. Light is qualified because there can be physical light, there can be rational light, light of the reason, and there can be light of His knowledge. It is not physical light, it is not rational knowledge, but there is a light, the light of his knowledge. What is that light of his knowledge? Let us ask the question what is knowledge? Then we will find out what is his knowledge.
Whenever we speak of knowledge the word knowledge is incomplete because additionally we ask the question knowledge of what, knowledge of whom? Every time we use the word knowledge necessarily we speak an incomplete phrase. If I ask the question: “Do you have knowledge?” the question is still incomplete unless you add the word which will define the quality of the knowledge –– knowledge of this, knowledge of that, etc. Normally the word knowledge refers to a process of uncovering. There is an object which is covered and when you uncover that object then there arises the knowledge of that object. Basically knowledge is a process of uncovering. We also use the word discovering. There are many things which are discovered merely by words. You speak a word and the object is uncovered. When a child learns in the beginning, he learns very often only by words. “I saw a cat.” The word cat, when the child is told the word cat, there is an uncovering for the child. He sees the object and the word cat uncovers that object, so much so that next time, even if the object is not present, the mere mention of the word immediately gives an image of the real cat. So word is a very powerful instrument of uncovering. That is why whenever we use the word knowledge our first concern is with the word. That is the reason why many educators begin to speak to you about words. Whenever a word is spoken something happens in your consciousness. It is not a physical light but something that begins to uncover and something begins to glow. It may be an image that glows; it may be an idea that glows. We do not think very often that ideas are like light because ideas can run about even in our physical darkness but the fact is that ideas are like small lamps, small lights and these ideas are ignited by words. But there are limits of words. Everything cannot be uncovered by words. Even if I use a word, if you have not seen the object the word makes no meaning and the object can be seen, the physical object can be seen, only if physical light is thrown upon the object. There is a connection between the light and the object. There are objects which are self–luminous. You don’t need to throw light upon the object because the object itself is glowing by its own light in which case you don’t have to take a torch and put light on it from outside. But all objects are not self–luminous. Therefore you have to throw light upon objects which are not self–luminous. A star is self–luminous; the moon is not self–luminous –– as you know the moon shines by the light thrown upon it by the sun. The sun is self–luminous. But in any case there is a connection between the object and the light. If the object is self–luminous you don’t have to throw light upon it but if the object is not self–luminous you have to throw light upon it. But all objects are known through light. Object and knowledge, object and light are both needed in order to have knowledge. There is knowledge which itself is a light. I said previously that light thrown upon object gives you knowledge but knowledge itself can be regarded as light. Most often by uncovering that knowledge is generated and therefore light and knowledge are regarded as synonymous.