Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 705

Questions & Answers – Advaitic Method

Question: Good and evil do not exist?

Even the whole world, the whole structure really does not exist. It seems to be existing to your mind, when you are knocking the door. But Advaita says that it is giving you a formula because it is seated in the field of reality; from there it can tell you what to do so that you can come out of it. So from the point of view of that reality this does not exist and so revolve in your mind the idea that it does not really exist. Similarly you also do not exist and you should realise that you also do not exist. "You" means your mind, your stuff of consciousness, your ego sense – manah, chitta, ahankara.

Question: Even chit?

Chit is different from chitta. Chitta is the ordinary stuff of consciousness in which you are living, mind is the one sense which is coordinating all the senses, buddhi is intelligence and ahankara is ego sense. This is what you call yourself and all this also really does not exist. Revolve this idea in your mind, realise that all this does not exist and withdraw from it as much as possible. All the time realise that ultimately there is nothing. Even the good things are not really good. The intensification of the sense of meaninglessness of all that is here, the realization that this world does not exist, that you do not exist, this is the negative method. The positive method is the realisation that there is only one that exists and that is sat, tat. Constantly think that "That" only exists. Then you must intensify this negative practice and the positive practice and do not bother about anything. Of course for the purpose of living your life and for maintaining your body, which does not really exist (but you experience it to be there in your present condition) you will be obliged to do so many actions – even to breathe for example is an action – so do minimum actions. In Buddhism there is a prescription of compassionate actions. In Advaita even this is not obligatory. Minimise actions as much as possible. To become inactive, which is not easy, you have to train yourself to reach a point where you really have no inclination to work, no motivation to work. If you do have motivation, make those motivations as disinterested as possible.

Question: Does not the Gita say to keep on doing actions?

Therefore the Gita's teaching is different from this teaching. I will come to that teaching. This is Advaitic teaching I am giving at present. The Gita's teaching is much larger. I am giving the different answers which have been given to this question and Advaita is one of the answers, like Buddhism is another answer. According to Advaita, you should minimise your actions and even if you want to do action, you should do it as disinterestedly as possible and ultimately reach that state of mind where vairagya is perfect. Vairagya is a state of mind in which we know that all this world is flimsy, meaningless, that even the so-called good is not really good. There is nothing here to be attached to. You are allowed all kinds of things which may ultimately lead you to this. You may go to a temple, do a lot of worship of God, although according to Advaita, God also does not exist but for the time being, He's a kind of a crutch. So worship God, spend as much time as possible in puja, the longer you can do the better because at least it will take you out from a lot of actions, karma, and you will make no constructs. And of course you can give this teaching according to the capacity of each individual. You should not give all this teaching to everybody; everybody does not deserve to be given all these doses of the highest knowledge. To some people you should say that they must do only action and nothing else, because they are not capable of coming out of it yet and if you tell them, they will be worse than before, so Advaita does not believe in deluding them unnecessarily. This kind of teaching should not be given to everybody. Those who are very ignorant, for them we should say that you should go on working, kurvann eva iha karmani shatam samah jiji vishet, you go on doing action all the time, a hundred years you should go on living and doing actions only. To the most ignorant people you should give the message of action but action that is done disinterestedly. To others who are turned to devotion, Advaita advises them to do a lot of puja. Ultimately you reach a point when you feel vairagya. You really feel that everything is really meaningless. That will be a glorious day when you really have this vairagya. Then you concentrate on this negative idea and the positive idea – negative idea that this world is meaningless, that you are not the body, life and mind and the whole world is a construct, which does not exist.

And when you enter into a consciousness where the stupendous reality will be seen, will be experienced, where you will not even be the experiencer because even "you", will be lost completely, there will remain only tat sat, nothing else, that is the state of liberation. So here in the Advaitic sadhana the mind is the instrument, meditation is the instrument, samadhi is the instrument. The training of your mind to a point where you can reach this stage is the utility of your mind. As far as instrumentality is concerned the mind is an important instrument and the mind has to be used, it has to be subtilised, it is to be trained and refined so that it can reach this point and then you can make a jump out of it. This is the Advaitic method.