Question: How can our vasanas be exhausted?
Answer: This is the question regarding the role of other worlds. Apart from the physical world there exist other worlds also the world of the vital, the world of the mind, the psychic plane and other higher worlds and the interconnection between all these worlds. And the other worlds have an entry into our own being even here in the physical world. There are projections made from other planes, so that our being as we understand it now, is a complex of the physical being, the vital, mental and psychic being and there can develop also other beings.
There is the inner consciousness which is also called subliminal consciousness. Technically it means beyond the threshold. The word subliminal here does not mean sublime in the normal sublime sense. Just behind the threshold of our surface consciousness there is this inner consciousness in which a great number of activities are operating but of which our surface consciousness is not aware. It is like a child in a big home or a big family. The child is only aware of his little world of his toys and his little occupations, of his immediate needs. But that there is a large family around him and motives of the people around, the child is not aware. Nonetheless these activities do go on around him and they also affect the child’s own life. The moods of the father and mother may be determined by many things of which the child is not aware but these moods also affect the child’s life also. Similarly, our surface consciousness is like a small child in a large home. So what is going on in the subliminal consciousness, the surface consciousness is not aware of it but nonetheless the inner operations are going on and they have an effect on our surface consciousness without our knowledge. If you can become aware of our inner consciousness then we can control surface consciousness much more and we are in possession of a greater knowledge and we can foresee what is going to happen in our surface consciousness. We can shape the surface consciousness better. We can even invite the forces of the inner consciousness to outer consciousness much more powerfully, consciously, and much more openly.
Normally it is difficult for the parents to communicate to the child because the child’s consciousness is concentrated upon its little world but if the child begins to become aware of the parents, their motives and become open to their suggestions, it is easier for the parents to communicate with the children. The doors are more open and the child is looking for suggestions from parents.
Similarly, if the surface consciousness begins to be aware of the inner consciousness, it opens up its doors of communication to the inner consciousness much more consciously and that helps in the infiltration of the suggestions, powers, motives of the subliminal consciousness. The subliminal consciousness itself is a projection from the other worlds—you might compare it with a kind of capsule as it were, which is behind our surface consciousness and this capsule itself is connected with a larger world. Each capsule of the inner being is connected with the larger world corresponding to itself. And the forces and beings of those worlds are trying to infiltrate to us through this capsule. If you can go into the inner consciousness, enter into that capsule and move forward, we can travel into the larger world. This is what is called occult.
There are many worlds and those forces and beings are also trying to infiltrate into our subliminal. We enter into subliminal and subliminal is a larger field but it is also a larger field of knowledge ignorance. It is not merely a field of knowledge but also of knowledge ignorance just as our surface consciousness is a small field of knowledge ignorance in which both knowledge and ignorance are intertwined. If you go into the inner world, the field becomes larger but this field also opens up to the play of forces of knowledge ignorance on a larger scale. That is why merely entry into the inner being is not enough.
There are many people who enter into the inner being and they remain for a long time in the inner being and their character becomes so complex; motivations are so incalculable. Sometimes some of them may be largely good and largely evil at the same time. A dynamo appears to be working in them which are both good and evil at the same time. In many ways they are good and many ways evil. This field of vital and mental is specifically called occult. Occultism is a science of the inner physical, inner vital and inner mental. But deeper than the occult is the psychic.
Then higher than the mental are many other planes. Some of the experiences of Purusha, Atman, Ishwara etc are obtained when you go beyond the mind plane. So if you remain confined only to the inner physical, inner vital and inner mental your field becomes larger no doubt. You may even get many capacities which our surface consciousness does not possess but then the personality becomes very mixed and sometimes may get possessed by certain spirits and powers which are very dangerous. So it is not safe to enter into this field without much precaution. And the best is to enter into them with a great stress on the psychic.
In fact the safest rule of inner life is to discover the psychic as soon as possible, because on the psychic plane there is no mixture of good and evil; the psychic plane is automatically open to the good—an automatic channel for all that is truth, beauty and goodness. But in this complexity everything is pell-mell together. Even the psychic element is mixed up with all these elements. But if the psychic element is more developed it can detect more clearly. It can easily detect that this particular element in the inner vital, is not the right type; this particular influence is dangerous. This is to be avoided, this is to be projected, and this is to be discouraged. That is why psychic being is Agni which is Purohitam.
Agni is to be put forward. Psychic being should be made the priest of our movement. If he is the leader of our movement, then there is inner guidance available to us all the time. It will also attract the right type of forces towards you. And all this is very important in the theory of the development of personality. The real person is the psychic being and personality is a formation of the person. But this formation in the beginning is a very complex formation consisting of the surface body, surface vital and surface mental. And something of the psychic being which percolates to the surface. That is one part of our personality.
Then there is the deeper personality which consists of the formation of inner vital, inner mental and the inner working of the psychic being. And little by little the inner psychic being is able to formulate itself more and more powerfully. The greater the emergence of the psychic being, the greater is the personality of the individual, — the true personality. There are many outer personalities which are sometimes gigantic. One lives entirely in the inner vital like Ravana, the being who lives in the vital can have a gigantic personality because of the influx of the vital world working on the personality e.g. Napoleon.
All kinds of motivations come from above, from the vital plane and if there is a communication with the surface consciousness then you get a tremendously powerful personality capable of shaking the world and developing so many powers of outer personality which may be in human perceptions quite exceptional. But from psychic point of view it may be a limited personality, vitally a great personality, but psychically a small personality.
Similarly, there can be a mental personality. There are some great men having great power of the mind and their inner being has opened up to the mental world. It is easier for them to receive ideas, ideative motives. This is how many writers write fluently. Many ideas percolate and come directly from the mental plane. They may also combine with the vital personality. Such a person may be open to both the vital plane and mental plane in different proportions. Depending on the proportions he may have a mixed vital-mental personality, big or small. And if the two can be combined together you may have a very gigantic personality. Some of the great leaders of the world have this kind of capacities. They have developed vital and mental and combined them together. But again from psychic point of view they may be quite limited. But the real personality is the personality of the psychic being, because in the psychic personality there is a power of integration which is not so much available in the mere vital and mental personalities.
Many vital and mental personalities are divided beings. They are themselves a field of battle within themselves. Their vital may move in one direction and mental in another direction. They may develop many tastes and they all remain pell-mell together in confusion. Sometimes some kind of harmony is established, superficial harmony; some integration takes place but no mastery. Man is ruled by various kinds of passions, tastes, interests, influences, beings and one is led away for the time being and there is a long cycle of this movement and then it takes a long time to retrace one’s steps if one goes far off. So integration is a very difficult task merely at the physical, mental and vital level. But if the psychic being is brought forward and one can do it consciously and that is the basic meaning of yoga.
If one knows the meaning of yoga, one knows what the psychic being is and how it can be put forward, how it can be made to lead other parts of the being and so on; then integration becomes much more easy and there is mastery over the personality. One can develop one’s own personality with a sureness of guidance. Move in this direction and not that and so on. The psychic being becomes a purohita, the priest of the movement.
This being the case even in the present life we have interconnections with the other worlds. Influences are coming from above and our present desires are not only desires of our physical life. Our present ideations are not only ideations of the physical world. Many of our desires are desires imported from the vital world. Many of our ideas are ideas derived from the mental world. That is why when our body is left at the time of death there is a travel to these worlds and when we go to these worlds many of the things that we have desired here they find their greater satisfaction there. And then they can be exhausted there. So there is sojourn in the vital world, sojourn in the mental world and we then enter into the psychic plane where there is a rest for sometime. There is then a preparation for the next birth.
With regard to the next birth there are two ideas which are current. As Sri Aurobindo points out there is a metaphysical side to it and a moral side to it. Metaphysical means in the very nature of things, fundamentally it is so; moral means, because of the nature of arrangement of things. So when we say metaphysical we mean the very nature of things rebirth is necessary. And when we say there is a moral aspect, it means that because of the arrangement of things of the world rebirth will be of a particular kind.
First we see the metaphysical aspect. It is said metaphysically that because of the nature of God, because of the nature of the world and because of the nature of the soul, because of the intention of God in the world and in the soul, rebirth is inevitable.
What exactly is the import of this statement? The meaning of it is since it is intended that the Totality is to be manifested in the embodied individual and since this Totality cannot become embodied within one life span, rebirth becomes inevitable. One is bound to be reborn, you cannot escape it. It is not left to us at this stage because in the very nature of it we have consented to this adventure. Until this task is done, rebirth is inevitable.
Now this intention you might say is the very first karma of every one of us. In our agreement we have consented to participate in the manifestation of the Totality in embodied individuality, our agreement to manifest the Totality in our embodied individuality, this intention we might say is the very first karma.
The word karma means action. Action is nothing but a will behind which force is exercised to produce a result. So we are bound by this first will. This is our first bondage. We have agreed to it, because of this agreement we have entered into a play of exclusive concentration of consciousness. Exclusive concentration of consciousness produces ignorance and ignorance produces desire. And once ignorance and desire are present our bondage becomes extremely tight. The first bondage was not tight as it was nearer freedom. You were free to choose to enter into this game and you had the freedom to do so. But once you have taken this decision and entered now into a greater depth where ignorance and desire are also produced then the bondage is very tight and you can hardly now expect to be free from it quickly. That is why it is said ignorance and desire are our greatest bondage. It is this ignorance and desire which brings us back again and again to rebirth.
Until ignorance and desire are dissolved, we cannot hope to be free from the necessity of rebirth. And even when ignorance and desire are removed, you may be free from the necessity of rebirth but not necessarily from rebirth itself. You may consciously choose to be reborn because the intention is to reach that goal and intention is not to get out of the cycle of rebirth.
So you might say there are three main steps of our movement. The first is the bondage to ignorance and desire, as a result of which rebirth becomes necessary, inevitable and you cannot escape from the wheel of rebirth at all. Second is the abolition of ignorance and desire as a result of which you can become free from the necessity of rebirth but you may continue to be reborn. That is why you find even great bhaktas praying for rebirth again and again so that they can continue to work in the world. Even Buddha when he was about to enter into Nirvana took a vow that I will not enter into nirvana until every individual in the world is liberated. The third is attainment of that goal viz. the manifestation of the Totality in the embodied individual. These are the three main steps of the whole process. And this entire process is basically a process of the Will starting from the first Will, the first Karma. And that is why the importance of Karma in the entire machinery of the world and our selves.
That brings us to the moral aspect of the question. How is this Karma organized and arranged in the world? What kind of relationship between the Soul and the Will, the Soul and its Karma?
According to the normal, ordinary notions, everyone is reborn according to his past karmas. The arrangement is such in the world that the past karma determines his new birth. And people conceive of this arrangement to be so tight, so rigid, so fixed that one is apt to forget the presence of the soul altogether. Karma becomes the most important element and we are apt to forget that the karma was started by the soul itself so the soul must have kind of a place in the arrangement of things. So if you want to have a clear notion as to the arrangement of karma, we must see constantly the relationship between the Soul and Karma.
Supposing I decide today that I will fly by a certain flight in the evening, this is a karma I have put forward, a will and as a result of the will that is put forward my consequent activities will be determined by this karma. But since it is I who has decided to go there I should also have the possibility of saying in the evening that I will not fly today. So, I can cancel out my karma by a new will. Such is the real position of soul and karma. When you put forth a karma, it is true that it binds you but it binds you so long as the soul does not take a new decision and cancels it, overrides it or modifies it. Therefore Sri Aurobindo says that karma is a process but process is not all. There is a spirit also in the process. And spirit therefore can be modified. Now if this knowledge is possessed by us then the ordinary obsession that many people have with karma can be remedied, because very often people are obsessed with the bondage to karma and people feel that if these things are happening in my life it is because of my karma and one cannot help it—can do nothing about it. It is written in my astrological horoscope that something will happen and it is bound to happen. But even in Indian astrology where the law of karma is given a great predominance, there is a conscious acceptance that whatever is indicated in your graph can be modified, can be changed, can be altered, can be over-passed altogether.
Spirit is greater than the process. Karma is bondage but the soul is free and by its freedom can overpass the karma. So such is the arrangement in the world. But again the rigidity of the idea of karma is complicated because of the notion of justice. It is argued that this whole world is governed by justice. And each one is rewarded according to the actions and even mathematically accurately. Such is the notion which is prevalent in the world with regard to karma that if you have done certain things you are bound to reap the consequences of the karma with mathematical precision.
Now with regard to this there are two errors, two erroneous views which have to be brought out. We may not dispute the idea of justice provided we understand justice in the right sense because justice in the world may not correspond with our idea of justice. What I may think to be just may not be just from God’s point of view. So I may not dispute the idea of justice. I may say there is justice in the world provided I do not impose upon God’s idea of justice with my idea of justice. But it is argued that if one does a good action then the consequence will be in terms of happiness and if one does an evil action then the consequence will be in terms of misery. This is the kind of equation that is being shown to be part of the law of karma—popularly, not scientifically.
What Sri Aurobindo points out is that this equation is an erroneous equation. Such is not the law of Karma in the world. Such is not the equation in the world. The equation is only this that the nature of the Energy that is put forward in the Karma in the action is also reflected in the nature of the energy in the consequence. If the nature of the energy put forward in an action is good then the result will be an increase of good, not an increase of happiness. If you put energy in the form of evil, the consequence will be an increase of evil. Moreover, energies in the world are of many kinds. Good and evil are only two kinds of energies but there are many kinds of energies e.g. there is energy in the direction of pursuit of knowledge, energy put forward in the direction of health, energy put forward in the direction of joy, joy of various kinds, not only physical pleasure. There is a direction in which you put energy only to get success, put forth energy in the attainment of beauty, some may pursue power, some may pursue multiplicity of relationships. People are very happy when they have friends and they keep increasing friends in the world, more and more. Some may have simply a lust for wealth. So there are many kinds of energies that may be put forth. So according to the true law of karma according to the nature of the energy put forth in action there will be the consequence in the form of an increase in that kind of energy. If I am a virtuous man doing virtuous action, the result will be an increase in my virtuosity. I will become more virtuous. But because of my virtuosity it does not mean that I will stand first in sports competition simply because I am a righteous man. If you want to stand first in sports competition then you have to put forth energy appropriate to sports. You have to go for sprinting every day. You have to develop muscles, develop endurance of the physique; you have to develop skills by which you can compete properly. These are the energies you have to put forward to succeed in the field sports. The more you do that the more you will get in the direction connected with that particular energy. If you do not follow this line of argument, you will come to absurd conclusions. e.g. If you find a virtuous man is suffering and according to the wrong notion this man who is now virtuous must have been a very evil man in the past and he is suffering now because of the evil he has done in the past. Or if this evil man is enjoying all kinds of pleasures, it would mean that in the past birth he was a paragon of virtues and suddenly has become evil but is enjoying the bank balance of the past. Such will be the consequences of this wrong notion of karma. Very often we say this evil man is enjoying so much why does God not punish him but the reason is that he is pursuing the energies of pleasure so pleasure will increase. Very often evil movements are connected with lots of successes. If you only pursue success, good or evil matter nothing to you, you will keep on getting success.
The nature of the world is not ruled by our ideas of good and evil. And good and evil are not the only criteria in the world. The world is a vast movement of energy in which there is a variety of forces working together at the same time and depending upon the kind of energy put forth you get the consequences in the same kind.
Having said this we can add a rider, there is also a plane where these things intermix because human beings are working not in one but in many directions at the same time. Therefore the totality of circumstances that an individual is placed in is a result of multifarious activities, various kinds of energies that he has put forward and therefore energies are mixed and results are mixed. Partly we succeed, partly we fail, partly we enjoy, partly we suffer because of the intermixture of the energies we put forth. But the most important thing to be remembered is that all this web of karma is the instrument of experience and that is the central point and the question is what is the meaning of experience.
Let us go back to the first premise. Our first will was to agree to enter into this game by which the Divine Totality can be manifested in the embodied individual. It would therefore mean that our soul has a mission, to build the totality of divinity in an embodied individual. You may take an analogy of an architect. An architect is told—you build a most complete temple on this earth, the most complete temple. All the elements of divinity must be manifested in the temple. Such is the task given to the architect. If he is a good architect what will he do? He will first have to examine the right spot for the temple. The survey of the world will be his first experience. Then he will examine the various kinds of soils. Which kind of soil will stand with what kind of material? And he will have to make many experiments. This experimentation will give him experience and then he will have to do a lot of other planning. He will have to learn a lot of mathematics to draw the right arcs, the right type of supports and to design newer and newer beautiful designs. So his experience will consist of basically seeing as to how the vision can be translated into the physical. What are the problems that are faced when you try to fix a vision into the reality of the matter? Now such is the case with our soul.
We first of all have created matter, then we have tried to see how matter can become so subtle gradually at the human level at least, we can become aware of ourselves. This has taken millions and millions of years of experience by which this point has been reached. And we are constantly experimenting. All our life movements are experiments. We are trying to see how this or that works, see the consequences of it and learn from it and avoid and refashion certain other things and proceed further. So actually what you call karma is nothing but our experiments.
We are putting forth energies and we are seeing what are the consequences of the putting forth of certain energies and we learn from the results, we experience them. Out of that experience we become mature as it were and gradually we begin to have mastery. That is why if you are a grown up soul, then right from childhood the soul will not take to certain experiences at all, he will eliminate. It has already experienced and it knows what is to be avoided. The child experience may not understand but the soul that has already developed and experimented in the past does not have interest right from the beginning. It has washed away the interests as it has experimented upon it. Or as soon as he starts doing something he succeeds immediately because he has gained mastery over it. There are some children who are born leaders as they have developed power from past births and they have acquired certain control, magnetism so it is that which has traveled with the soul from the past, it is a gain from the past. If you have become a good architect then in this new birth you will begin to build right from the beginning very easily. You are not an apprentice architect so you will succeed in birth much more than another who is still an apprentice and learning to be apprentices as yet.
The most important thing is how much a soul has gained in experience and by experience we mean what one has identified with. All experience is identity. You never experience unless you identify with something. When you identify yourself with a problem, grapple with it and derive the quintessence of it, in this birth I may develop thousands of relations and then ultimately may have realized that it does not amount to much. Two good and sincere friendships are better than thousands of friendships which really mean nothing. Such an experience attains to after many, many experiments. It is said of Alexander the Great that when he was about to die he realized that he said I tried to conquer the whole world but now I realize I came empty handed and I am going empty handed. It is a remarkable experience of the soul that you tried to gain in a certain sense. But really speaking what is gained? He must have evolved to a certain extent so that in another life he must have realized what real gain is. Because trying to conquer the world, we may think is the right way of gaining but is not. But ultimately at the time of death he found that it was not so and nothing was left with him. Experiences of this kind are the most important thing that you derive from karma.
The relationship between soul and karma is that of growth though karma by gaining experience through karma. The soul becomes more and more powerful by gaining experience; it knows what the real relationship between matter, life, mind and the soul is. This is a simple formula of gaining experience, when you really understand what is the right relationship between matter, life, mind and soul and what is the right relationship of all this with Atman, Purusha and Ishwara. When you gain this right knowledge that is the quintessence of experience.
The soul is experienced to the extent to which it knows what is the right relationship of all this and beyond all this. We go through numerous experiences in the world but what really matters is this quintessence of experience. What I do in the whole day, I may do a hundred activities in the whole day but ultimately what counts is what I learn from these hundred activities and what experience I gain. So even if I forget afterwards all the hundred activities I did it does not matter so long as I remember the totality of experience that I gained out of them. That is why in the mechanism of karma forgetting hundreds of things, is part of the machinery.
We are not required to remember what you were in the past birth for your growth in this life. If it were necessary for you to remember then nature would have been unjust to us by taking away the memory of the past life. We could have asked Nature why are you so cruel that you do not tell me what I was in my past life because that would be so important for me to remember. But if it is not important what is important is simply what the experience I have gained is. If that is not blotted out it is perfectly natural and just. So many people argue that proof of rebirth is in what " in remembering the past birth " not at all. The proof of rebirth is how far your soul has experienced. How far naturally you react to the things that are presented in this birth. That is what determines your present level of consciousness, and the fact that you have lived in the past birth or not. Even in the memory of past lives, Mother says that memory of past lives is not of the nature that you were a baron in the past life or a gardener in the past birth or that you had met such and such individual in the past birth or anything of the kind. What you remember is the experience you gained, the quintessential experience you have gained. Those moments where you really gained experience of the relationship of the soul with the body, life and mind and other higher planes, and how to deal with them, how to control them and how to master them and to build a temple of God out of the materials. Whatever helped you to build the temple of God that is remembered?
We have all agreed to enter into this kind of an enterprise or goal and that goal can be fulfilled if you learn through experience which comes to us through karma. And what you learn out of this is the knowledge and skill of fashioning immortality—a new concept being introduced.
The whole game on the earth is to fashion immortality on the earth. In the Veda there is a figure of Ribhu. There are many verses in the Vedas concerning Ribhus. And if you read those verses you find that they had succeeded in becoming artisans of immortality. Just as when you want to build a big temple you have to be an artisan to build the temple, similarly, all of us have actually been asked to build the temple of immortality.
The manifestation of Totality in the embodied individual—this can be summarized—to become artisan of immortality. We are here on the earth to be skillful masons of fashioning immortality. To build, to construct, to fashion, to design such a structure, such a beauty, such a durability that it cannot disintegrate. So actually we are all here sent to be the artisans of immortality. We have to know what immortality is and then we have to have the skill to build such structures which will be immortal. Ribhus were those forefathers of ours who had succeeded in attaining to this condition. They were successful missionaries. They accomplished their mission. Basically, they were capable of first knowing what Immortality is.
Let us dwell on the knowledge of what is Immortality.
If you examine our life, the one thing that we dread most is disintegration. We are constantly trying to build and rebuild, rebuild again so that it may not break. Our entire enterprise in life is to build something and build permanently. When we fall sick we do not like it because it is a disintegration. When there is a problem in a relationship we do not like it because it is a breaking of a relationship. We do not like confusion in the mind because the clarity is disturbed. I build up a factory and then I try to make that factory more and more permanently secure and powerful. I build up an empire and make it unbreakable. This is the tendency of man all the time. His whole tendency is to make things integrated and permanent. But in life we find constantly that things are developed to some extent, rebuilt to some extent and breaks and the minimum we experience is the death of the body.
A body is born, we nourish the body and we do so many things for the body and after some time or after a long time, depending upon the circumstances that body disintegrates. And we feel that all the labour that was done in building the body was gone waste. I learn so many arts, science in my lifetime but when I die it is all gone—finished. Many people ask this question: if I am to ultimately die, why to build at all. If everything is going to be disintegrated ultimately why should I study, why the labour, why not commit suicide. The reason is that even if you commit suicide, rebirth is inevitable. If you are going to come out of it is a good escape. Why this trouble and why rebirth? Because we have intended to build immortality here and until we succeed in building immortality on earth we will be reborn. There is no escape. You have to cross over death.
In Isavasya Upanishad: “avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya amrtam asnute”, By avidya you cross the death and then by vidya you enjoy immortality. This is the goal for which we are here on earth.
So even if you find that things are disintegrated there must be some meaning and we learn that from karma certain experiences remain permanent and are not lost. But that is not enough. You have to reach a point where you know what is really immortal, what is mortality, what is integration, what is disintegration—this is the most important knowledge. In this mobile world everything is in a flux. It is like a flame. The flame is never the same flame. The flame which now takes the place of the former flame. This may seem to be the same flame. New flames keep coming up all the time. It is like a river. You can never step twice into the same river because the movement of the river’s flow is constant. The same water is never constantly present. So this world is mobility of this kind. So change is the fundamental nature of this world and in this movement of change to talk of immortality may seem to be quite irrelevant.
What do we mean by immortality? Take for example this body. This body is constantly changing. The cells are constantly being born and constantly being washed away. Cells are constantly being renewed. We are dying every moment. Every moment we are being reborn. And we do not call it death. What is the difference between this death and that death where we burn the body? Similarly, all the personalities are in a constant state of flux. No personality remains the same. It is constantly changing. This is the answer to the question.
There is first the reality beyond mobility. To discover the immobile in the mobile is the first task.
In the Kena Upanishad there is a stronger term used. If you realise it while in body it is well with you but if you do not, vinashiti, it is perdition for you. It is an even stronger statement. That while in the body you have to attain to this realization of immortality.
But even to realize this in the embodied condition you have to fulfill certain conditions. You have to develop your body, life and mind to such an extent that at least your mind can become at once mobile and immobile simultaneously. If your mind cannot become immobile at least then you cannot experience that immobility. That is the reason why in all Yoga we are told to quiet your mind. The reason is that that is the basic condition. “Quiet your mind” means to make it immobile. If you can absolutely silence the mind, quiet the mind, if you can achieve that condition then you can reflect the immobility which is above and you can experience it while in the body.
This is one condition that has been laid down and that is why all yogic kriyas—all yoga ultimately you are asked to arrive at a point where your mind can become, if not silent, absolutely stable. That is why Bhagavad Gita speaks of Sthitapragya, ones pragya becomes sthita—completely still, stable, fixed, unshaken.
To reach this condition of the mind requires a lot of development of the mind itself. If the children are told right from the beginning that whatever studies you do you have to gain experience in such a way so as to make the mind stable. The real experience is this. Through all the studies, if you are able to arrive at a point where the mind can become stable, then you have derived the greatest experience. You may learn one science or one hundred sciences from the point of view of development of the goal, what is important is this. Essential experience is this — how you can make your mind stable. So to learn why the mind remains unstable, how the mind can be made stable, this is one of the first things to be learned and the mind has to reach that point of development. How to shape the mind requires the work of an artisan. Therefore a good teacher is one who so trains the mind of the child that the mind of the child becomes more and more stable. If you leave the mind in a state of doubt without answering a question, the mind cannot become stable. Therefore if you can give the right and true knowledge your mind becomes quiet.
A good teacher is one who provides the right answer to the mind so that the mind receives the knowledge truly. When the mind truly understands, giving information is one thing but to make the mind understand is quite another. I might repeat a formula a hundred times but unless the child understands the formula, his mind is not fixed. It will constantly repeat the formula but it does not understand. It will go round and round. Once the understanding takes place there is real stability. Mind once understands it keeps quiet. There may be other curiosities; a good teacher is one who rapidly goes through a process of questions and answers in such a way that on a large number of questions the knowledge so given, the mind becomes so illumined that it afterwards falls at rest. That is the first thing to be done, the first fashioning. But even this cannot be done very successfully so long as there is the riot of our vital.
Our vital being is in a real state of riot. It is full of desires and desires are floating about like microbes in water constantly fleeting about without any stability at all. To make vital being stable is a very difficult task. Making the mind stable is a much easier task. So this is another thing that also has to be done. The vital has to be so fashioned and there also the vital can be fashioned properly if the vital is made able to undertake courageous actions. This is one of the secrets of making the vital stable.
All vital is a movement towards action. And the vital does not get rest unless a courageous action is performed. Till that time it goes on fleeting all the time. But if you give a task which requires a tremendous courage and once that task is done the vital is greatly satisfied. It falls at rest. That is why in a good education you should provide to the children activities in which great courage is required, great effort is required. When a great effort is put forth then it gives a great quietude afterwards. Then there is a long process.
Similarly with regard to the body, the body is constantly fleeting. Our cells are constantly being modified and being changed and we are constantly dying and constantly being reborn. Therefore to make the body as stable as possible, as strong as possible, as healthy as possible, and arrive at a point where in spite of this constant mobility the individuality of the body is not lost and that is the real secret.
You will remember at the very starting point of our adventure it was to manifest Totality in the embodied individuality. So totality and individuality are to be combined together. Therefore the condition of immortality is the realization of Totality first and then the manifestation of it in then the individuality therefore the individuality must be retained. How to retain the individuality? The retention of individuality is done by the knowledge of the individual. Just as we knew the mobility and immobility, the mobile and immobile similarly we have to know what our true individuality is. What is our true specificity, what is my special function and how do I know my special function? I know my special function by knowing my true nature, my real movement. In what direction do I automatically move?
In the Gita there is a great emphasis given on Svabhava and Swadharma. If you find out your Swadharma and Swabhava then your individuality is sustained.
Immortality means first the discovery of the immobile, the discovery of the immobile, even in mobility. In terms of the Gita that is called the discovery of the Purushottama. Purushottama is Kshara and Akshara at the same time. It is mobile and immobile at the same time. So the discovery of the Purushottama is the first discovery of the immortality, the first essential step without which nothing else is possible. Second is the discovery of the individuality, thirdly, or simultaneously, development of body, life and mind in such a way that they become immobile even when they are mobile. They translate into the mobility and immobility of the Purushottama.
The Sthitapragna of the Gita is not one who remains quiet. His pragya is sthita. It is not as if he remains quiet. But it is not as if he is incapable of action. While doing all kinds of actions he is still sthir. His mind is in such a state that it is at once mobile and immobile and his individuality expresses itself to that mental activity. If our surface mind becomes so much tuned to the psychic being, to our soul that our mind is able to progress according to the needs of the soul constantly then the mind becomes immortal.
So even when the body falls, that mind will remain and will always remain available to you in your next birth or wherever you go whenever you need it is available to you because it has become immortal. Similarly, if the vital being is so developed, the surface vital becomes tuned to the psychic being then the vital being also becomes immortal. Even the physical can become immortal if the surface physical being is made tuned to the inner soul and its need of progress. You do not need to change the body at all; you can constantly remain in the same body and constantly keep progressing without death. In the totality of immortality that is also to be seen.
The psychic being by nature is immortal even though it moves from step to step, from birth to birth; it does not disintegrate or die. And therefore it is the soul that is the greatest helper, that it is the purohita. It is itself immortal and therefore it can build immortal life, immortal mind, immortal body.
Essential immortality is the essential immortality of the Purushottam, the realisation of it is the realisation of immortality. Amritam Ashnute, when we enjoy immortality, it is that immortality that we enjoy even while in the body. The second is the knowledge that our soul is immortal. The third is to make our mind immortal, our life immortal and our body immortal; this triple immortality of body, life and mind, translating the essential immortality by the instrumentality of the immortal soul.
This is the whole task that we are all here on earth to accomplish and that is why the rebirth and justification of it and how we can deal with rebirth ultimately.