On Death - Auroville (16 December 1999) - Track 5

The conclusion is: If you want will-power to increase, there must be first of all what is called self-control. Do not be overpowered by the impulsion of desire to such an extent that you cannot set yourself to work – and steady work, serious work, perfect work. The moment you have to do this work, you will see that you have to control yourself, you have to concentrate. The greater the steadiness of the work, the greater the labor you put into it, the greater the will is developed. The greater the concentration, the greater the will, the greater the control of desires, the greater the will. A time will come when the labor becomes so easy for you that it will not be felt to be labor (if you become a good athlete, then physically to carry a few kilos is no work at all, it's play); a time will come when concentration will not be felt to be concentration – at a second's call you can become concentrated. Otherwise it takes a long time to be concentrated, but if you are very well developed in concentration then you can easily concentrate, you don't even feel that you are concentrating. You can do ten things and concentrate equally on all of them. You find some housewives, they do the cooking, the sweeping, look after the child in the cradle, give instructions to the servant, examine whether the rice is well-cooked or not, answer a call from the postman – so many things at the same time without labour. It is the mark that a good will power has developed in the individual, when you can do even the biggest works more and more powerfully. We have the example of the Mother: We saw how the Mother was working so much, and we could see her concentrating upon hundreds of things at the same time, with equal attention; and her answers were always full of knowledge, and spontaneous, on the spot.
Once, on the Ashram sports ground, an engineer asked the Mother about the building of a swimming pool. He said, "We need to have a water supply. Mother, you are all-knowing, from where can we get the water?" She said, "The place where I am standing now is filled with water." And that space was dug up, and immediately water was found. So imagine, on the spot this was the Mother's answer! This was a physical question, but any question you put to the Mother... It was amazing, there was so much light, all the time. And she could do anything so easily. That is the mark of a fully developed will: There's no desire at all in it, there's no labor at all in it; everything is automatic, spontaneous, delightful.

Question: How does one build one confidence in oneself?
Answer: One does not build confidence by saying, "Have confidence, have confidence, have confidence." This is very often what people preach: "Have confidence! Go forward". This is only preaching. Confidence doesn't come by merely telling someone to have it. Confidence building is a serious work. It requires labor, work. Test yourself. Put yourself into a testing situation. A child goes to an examination hall, and he is afraid that his spelling is so weak that he won't be able to write the words correctly – I can't simply say to him now, "Have confidence!" The child doesn't know his spelling very well, and you say, "Have confidence"– Will he then write well' No, this is not the way of building confidence. Before you go to the examination hall, prepare yourself well. Take ten words every day, I told you last time and learn to spell them perfectly. Put yourself to the test, and know for yourself that yes, you can do it. Now you are right, there can be no mistake at all. That is the right way of building confidence: by labor, by testing yourself and retesting yourself.

Question: You spoke about the powers of the Mind, but you did not explain the words medha, buddhi and dhi. What do these words really mean? Are there other powers of the Mind?
Answer:I must tell you that I am very pleased with this question, because in fact, in one of the talks which I've prepared, which I have not given yet, I had written at length on this question. So you anticipated my paper.
I'll give a brief answer now, and keep in reserve that paper for later on.
I told you that the Veda is a mine of knowledge. It is a science of psychology by itself. It has analyzed different layers of the mind. Of the three words that you mention, buddhi and dhi are two interchangeable words, so there is no difference between the two. But between medha and buddhi there is a difference. Medha is the understanding based upon sense experience; buddhi is understanding without the need of sense experience – it may base itself on sense experience, but it may also have understanding without it. This is the basic difference.
What is the color of this flower? To observe this flower, to be able to name the color, this is the activity of medha. I have to open my eyes, I have to know many colors and be able to distinguish one from the other.
Does the earth rotate around the sun, or the sun around the earth? How will you answer this question? If you merely use medha, you will say that the sun revolves around the earth. That is the answer we will give, because we see that the sun rises here, goes up and then goes down. So the sun is moving around the earth! This is the answer of medha, but not the answer of buddhi. Buddhi will make many experiments – this is the intellectual process, what is called "reasoning" or "pure reason". It may start with observation, but then it compares that observation with other observations. Ultimately it finds out that it is the earth that is moving around the sun. This was the great Copernican revolution. Copernicus found out that it is not the sun that is moving around the earth, but the earth that is moving around the sun. This is work of intellect, when you compare observations with observations. And comparing, you derive the consequences from your comparisons, and again compare these consequences, apply the laws of reasoning, and then arrive at a conclusion. That is buddhi. Intellect has the power of discrimination in great purity, without being overpowered by the senses. Medha can be overpowered by the senses because it depends on the senses, but buddhi has the possibility of rising above their influence, it can be free from their spell.
The Veda describes many more powers of the Mind. In one of the verses I am going to speak about, it says, "Yat jagratho dur mudei iti devam tado suptas tathaiti duram gamam jyotishan jyoti rekham tunmay manaha shivasam kalpamasto." These are very long Sanskrit words in which the powers of the Mind are described. It says that the Mind can move very far, not only in the waking state, but also in the state of sleep. This is first important power of the Mind – it can travel, it can move very far. And then jyotishan jyoti, it is "the Light of Lights".
I'll tell you many more powers when I come to that particular lecture on the Mind. But this is another power which is neither medha nor buddhi – the power of traveling. Even in sleep you can have dreams; without opening your eyes you see colors in your dreams – how do you do that? Even though your outer ears are closed, you can hear conversations in your dreams. In dream, you can travel to America in a second – the Mind travels fast. You can see and repeat remote childhood experiences in your dreams. That is because it has great Light, and it is said that Mind travels at a speed even greater than the speed of light that's why the Veda says jyotisham jyoti, "Light of Lights". You can imagine how much the Vedic Rishis must have traveled in their inner consciousness to be able to say all this definitively; and when you read Sri Aurobindo on the Mind, he gives perfect detail, a complete mapping of the powers of the Mind.