Sri Aurobindo went to a teacher called Lele. A short conversation took place with the teacher and the teacher simply said: “Thoughts come to you from outside. When they assail you throw them back.” That is all. And Sri Aurobindo knew. It is simply something like that which happened to Krishna. Thoughts are like higher knowledge and you go beyond them and get the highest knowledge. You go beyond darkness to higher knowledge and then you come to the highest knowledge.” This is all that Lele told him. “Thoughts come to you from outside. When they come into you throw them back.” And Sri Aurobindo says, He just sat down, saw the thoughts coming from outside, and as they began to enter into the brain he sent them back! And the mind became utterly silent. Thereafter he had no approach to any teacher in his life. The Supreme Teacher taught him everything. It is what Sri Aurobindo himself has described. Going to Lele was also a concession for him. And the teacher gave him only one line. That is all. There was no volume of lectures or anything; only one line and Sri Aurobindo knew. All that is written here in The Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo says: “I have written in a state of silence of the mind.” Nothing is written by thinking, the whole ocean of knowledge poured into him, sometimes little by little, sometimes in torrents. So this is the way in which the Word is received. One word is sufficient. If you are a good student one word is sufficient. But we are most of us bad students so we require lots and lots of lectures. Doesn’t matter, as we are made so shall we do the best ourselves.
“There are rare cases in which none other is needed…” The Universal Teacher himself is enough, no outer teacher is needed at all. “… for all the rest of the Yoga is an unfolding under that constant touch and guidance; the lotus of the knowledge discloses itself from within by the power of irradiating effulgence which proceeds from the Dweller in the lotus of the heart. Great indeed, but few are those to whom self-knowledge from within is thus sufficient and who do not need to pass under the dominant influence of a written book or a living teacher.” There are a few people who are capable of this but we do not come under that category, we need a long influence, a long association with the teacher.
“Ordinarily, the Word from without, representative of the Divine, is needed as an aid in the work of self-unfolding; and it may be either a word from the past or the more powerful word of the living Guru. In some cases this representative word is only taken as a sort of excuse for the inner power to awaken and manifest…” Even when you go to an outer teacher sometimes it is just a little touch and all the rest is then obtained by you from within. “…it is, as it were, a concession of the omnipotent and omniscient Divine to the generality of a law that governs Nature. Thus it is said in the Upanishads of Krishna, son of Devaki, that he received a word of the Rishi Ghora and had the knowledge. So Ramakrishna, having attained by his own internal effort the central illumination, accepted several teachers in the different paths of Yoga, but always showed in the manner and swiftness of his realisation that this acceptance was a concession to the general rule by which effective knowledge must be received as by a disciple from a Guru.” Because the tradition says that you must be a disciple, you must go to a teacher, so you give a concession to that rule although you don’t need it. Ramakrishna did not need to go to so many teachers; he got the central illumination without going to any teacher by his own effort, because the Teacher was already working in him openly. But he gave a concession saying “Oh, you know. Alright I want to learn from you.” It was as if he was doing some kind of grace to his own teacher, so the teacher might not be disappointed. It is a kind of concession given to the teacher that “You want to teach me, fine. I will be your disciple. Please teach me.” But the way in which he learnt showed that it was hardly necessary. The swiftness with which he learnt showed there was no comparison between the teachings of the teacher and the learning by the pupil. The pupil learnt so swiftly and so voluminously that the trickle from the teacher became an ocean pouring. This can happen only when you don’t really need a teacher, the Universal Teacher is awake within you and you are able to learn from him directly. These are basic truths of Yoga.
The question is: “How do we realise?” And this is the basic answer. You realise the Divine, God, Light, Freedom, Immortality by this agency, first through silence. Then as a concession given to you, a word should come to you. That word may come from outside or from within. Rare are the people who do not require more than this. But mostly, generally, we require a long association with a living teacher; we require long books, long contemplations, long periods of understanding. As we are so we accept without pretence. We did not say that we are rare individuals, does not matter, as we are made so we are. If you need a long association we accept it. That also is joy of life.
“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.” If it is by Shastra — if you happen to receive this book, this is a shastra, and once you have received this book and you read it you can practice by yourself, you don’t need anything more. But sometimes you may need a living Guru, a living teacher. Even if the book is there, even if you read it you need the help from a living teacher. That is the usual method -- to go to a living teacher, to live with him day by day, year after year, decade after decade and you learn. But attainment is sure. Remember, once your feet have been put on the road, the end is certain, you will go to the end. Why? Because He has chosen you, therefore, you are bound to go to the end.
“The spiritual knowledge is then gained through meditation…” The word meditation is very important. What is meditation? Meditation is a process, which has been discovered, it is a great discovery, it is a magic as it were, a magical key like the lamp of Aladdin or open sesame. You just utter the word open sesame and the door opens. So meditation is magic. You just think of the Divine and the Divine comes to you. Just think of him. But this produces the reality of God himself. This is the connection which was discovered. The Divine who you may not see, the Divine who you don’t know you are told: “Just think of him ”. By thinking of Him a magic will happen. He will come. If you want to know the Divine just think of Him. Meditate, means basically thinking. So the real process of all yoga is thinking. And we have known that yoga is a methodized effort. Think methodically of the Divine. So meditation is a methodical thinking of the Divine. Don’t think of Him in a haphazard manner. One minute I think and then I forget afterward. This is not thinking, this is not methodized thinking. Think as a constant practice of the Divine.