Sri Aurobindo speaks of three stages in the previous paragraph that we read yesterday. First is a process of contact. It is a long, long process in which you turn inward. Then you become sayujya, you become united with the Divine. This is where the ego is destroyed. You unite here and ego is destroyed there. It is like an electric current, once you realise your unity here ego falls down. The third step starts when you become the Divine centre and the force moves without any boundaries, without any blockage. Until this happens the idea of personal effort persists and you should not therefore be idle: you make the sense of effort a part of your development. But this effort is to be turned inward and inward-outward so that the balance is maintained in your being until the ego is abolished and there is a powerful instrument of the Divine in the world which works in the world, without boundaries.
Now let us read therefore the paragraph that we had read yesterday. “But this is only one side of the force that works for perfection. The process of the integral Yoga has three stages, not indeed sharply distinguished or separate, but in a certain measure successive. There must be, first, the effort towards at least an initial and enabling self-transcendence and contact with the Divine; next, the reception of that which transcends, that with which we have gained communion, into ourselves for the transformation of our whole conscious being…” I spoke yesterday of a fountain. When you go near the Divine there is a big fountain of Divine consciousness. It bathes you as you return to it. “…last, the utilisation of our transformed humanity as a divine centre in the world.” You realise the jivatman in you and through that jivatman you allow the Divine force to manifest. “So long as the contact with the Divine is not in some considerable degree established, so long as there is not some measure of sustained identity, sayujya, the element of personal effort must normally predominate. But in proportion as this contact establishes itself, the sadhaka must become conscious that a force other than his own, a force transcending his egoistic endeavour and capacity, is at work in him and to this Power he learns progressively to submit himself and delivers up to it the charge of his Yoga.” Once you reach this point everything then becomes the responsibility of the archer. The bow remains the bow. The bow does not make an effort now to bring out the arrow, to fix it, to make the target and to shoot because it can’t do it even if it tries. It never does. We only try to imitate the Divine in our ignorant way. We become the archer as it were, we become the fixer of the target, we shoot, but only as a monkey imitates man when it sees man doing something. If a man wears a cap the monkey also wears a cap but in its own clumsy manner. Similarly we are only imitators and when we stop imitating, open ourselves to the Divine, the Divine goes on doing its work without any boundary.
“In the end his own will and force become one with the higher Power; he merges them in the divine Will and its transcendent and universal Force. He finds it thenceforward presiding over the necessary transformation of his mental, vital and physical being with an impartial wisdom and provident effectivity of which the eager and interested ego is not capable. It is when this identification and this self-merging are complete that the divine centre in the world is ready. Purified, liberated, plastic, illumined, it can begin to serve as a means for the direct action of a supreme Power in the larger Yoga of humanity or superhumanity, of the earth’s spiritual progression or its transformation.” There is always a question for every individual: “How to be helpful to the others? How to serve mankind?” This is the answer. If you really want to serve mankind this is the condition. Abolition of egoism, allowing the Supreme force to work through you as a Divine centre. Then all that you do will work for the unity of mankind, for the progression of mankind, you really help mankind.
“Always indeed it is the higher Power that acts. Our sense of personal effort and aspiration comes from the attempt of the egoistic mind to identify itself in a wrong and imperfect way with the workings of the divine Force. It persists in applying to experience on a supernormal plane the ordinary terms of mentality which it applies to its normal experiences in the world.” It is actually a very refined way of saying that the ego is like a monkey which is imitating the higher force, which simply imitates what is happening behind and applies the higher to the lower in its own way which is done very clumsily.
“In the world we act with the sense of egoism; we claim the universal forces that work in us as our own; we claim as the effect of our personal will, wisdom, force, virtue the selective, formative, progressive action of the Transcendent in this frame of mind, life and body. Enlightenment [when you turn inward] brings to us the knowledge that the ego is only an instrument; we begin to perceive and feel that these things are our own in the sense that they belong to our supreme and integral Self, [integral Self is the Self which is both immobile and mobile at the same time] one with the Transcendent, not to the instrumental ego. Our limitations and distortions are our contribution to the working…” What we are contributing is to weaken the force. Because of our egoism the force which is coming from outside and which is powerful is weakened. We contribute only by distorting, by limiting it, by weakening it. “…the true power in it is the Divine’s. When the human ego realises that its will is a tool, its wisdom ignorance and childishness…” In egoism we always say: “I am now more mature, I am more experienced, I am really wise.” So Sri Aurobindo breaks this wisdom and says: “…its wisdom [is only] ignorance and childishness…” “…its power an infant’s groping, its virtue a pretentious impurity…” What I say is my virtue is only a purity which is pretentious, which does not exist. You pretend to be virtuous, actually nobody is virtuous unless this happens. All claim to virtue is a pretence. “…and learns to trust itself to that which transcends it, that is its salvation. The apparent freedom and self-assertion of our personal being to which we are so profoundly attached…” In our egoism we feel we are free -- I decide myself what I am to do. It is my freedom. But this freedom is nothing but “a most pitiable subjection to a thousand suggestions, impulsions, forces which we have made extraneous to our little person. Our ego, boasting of freedom, is at every moment the slave, toy and puppet of countless beings, powers, forces, influences in universal Nature. The self-abnegation of the ego in the Divine is its self-fulfilment; its surrender to that which transcends it is its liberation from bonds and limits and its perfect freedom.”