Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 1003

Questions & Answers – Goodwill.

Question: When we are all the time protecting our self from others,  how do we feel goodwill towards friends, neighbours, enemies?

Goodwill is one of the most difficult things in the world, and true harmony is established when there is goodwill from your side and also goodwill from outside and while you can have goodwill from your side because you are yourself trying to do it, to get it from outside is very difficult. This is where you find the need to protect yourself because when there is not sufficient goodwill from outside and there is an attack from outside, then you need to protect yourself against the attack. So there is nothing wrong in trying to protect yourself, but in the process of protecting yourself there is a need to learn how to truly protect ourselves. We normally protect ourselves by the means with which we are familiar normally. We normally protect ourselves by three methods; one is by withdrawing and entering into our shell, so our shell becomes a protective shield. The second way by which we protect ourselves is to strengthen our capacity against the attack; and the third method by which we protect ourselves is by fighting against the attack.  All the three methods are legitimate, to fight against the attack is legitimate, to strengthen yourself to be able to protect yourself is legitimate, to withdraw into your own shell and to create a shield around you is also legitimate. You can follow anyone of them, any two of them or all the three of them, depending upon circumstances, but these are ordinary methods, and we can make use of them in our process of ascent but we have to remember that these processes are provisional until we get higher methods of doing this. What are the higher methods?

The higher methods again are three. The one is to concentrate upon your basic aim of life and to meet the difficulties of the moment by remembering your basic aim of life and asking yourself whether the given problem before you is worth attending to, in the context of your aim of life, or if it is, in what way it is going to promote your aim of life; or to make that incident or whatever is to be done as a part of the discovery of the aim of life or manifestation of the aim of life. This is one method.

The second method is to understand the Divine's will in the situation in which you are placed. In every situation there is an embedded part, and in every situation God wants to convey a message to all of us, every one of us. God is a constant teacher and He constantly wants us to understand the language of the situation. And therefore we have to be very careful to understand. It is like you know, trying to listen to a whisper, how attentive you need to be. So think that God is whispering and you have to strain very hard and to be absolutely quiet to listen to the whisper of God. He wants to tell you something through the situation in which you are but be very quiet, do not imagine that this is what God wants to tell you because very often we become self-critical and we begin to feel that I must be at fault and therefore I am to be blamed. This is the normal way in which very good people try to understand or listen to the voice of God. But do not do that kind of exercise, be very quiet neither justifying nor opposing, treat yourself as a very small child and a child should not normally be rebuked, should not normally be scolded. So think that you are a very small child and you are exactly before God who is trying to whisper into you, to tell you something. Repeat this kind of state, frequently, whenever you have a problem. Even if you do not understand the whisper of God, in due course you will be able to understand the hand of God. In fact to understand the hand of God in the events around you is one of the disciplines of yoga because in every movement God is evolving, He is moving, He is living, He is projecting Himself in His manifestation and in this movement of God, He wants you to be accompanying him. Think that you as a small child are holding the finger of God and He is taking you forward and while He is taking you forward, He is whispering into your ears and in that state, you walk. So before you even understand the whisper, walking you have got to do, so walk as you are walking, neither justifying yourself nor criticising yourself. Walk simply. A moment will come when this message will reach you, this is the second method.

The third method is that in spite of anything or everything, you spread the wings of goodwill without criticising anybody or yourself, without finding fault with anybody or with yourself. Just say that whatever is happening, from my side it is the highest goodwill, irrespective of anything that is happening. If you employ all the three methods together, each one will contribute to the right situation because each method has certain difficulties. But if you combine these three methods then over a certain time you will find yourself automatically in a state of goodwill, which is not merely a goodwill that is defensive, not a goodwill which is passive in receiving the blows, but it will be a goodwill in which there is a sweetness which cannot be extinguished and yet which gives you the real strength to fight when necessary, to love when necessary and to spread more and more, the will of God in the world. These three things will happen.

Question: But fighting brings disharmony. One would rather remain passive than fight.

Fighting in not necessarily opposed to goodwill. A child is in your hand whom you want to protect. A huge bird falls upon you; it wants to take away the child from you. What do you do? You have the highest goodwill for the child; you have the highest goodwill for the bird also. You have to explain to the bird that it is a wrong thing to attack the child. How will you explain to the bird? The bird does not understand, he understands only one language, the blow. So you give a blow to the bird, this is goodwill. You are making it understand because that is the language it understands. When Sri Krishna asked Arjuna to fight in the battle, it was very clear that the battle was for destruction, and destruction not merely of ordinary objects of the world but destruction of people who were preceptors, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, men for whom Arjuna would like to give up his life. But they were all bent on destroying the future. The future was like a small child in the hands of Arjuna and all these were like the bird who was trying to attack the child and to destroy the child. Therefore with utmost goodwill for the child, for the future, this is what Sri Krishna did in his Vishvarup Darshan, when Sri Krishna showed in the time vision how the huge flood of time was carrying all kinds of forces. When Arjuna was shown that future, then he realised the significance of the battle. So fighting is not necessarily a sign of ill will and Sri Krishna told Arjuna, "fight and kill them but without any anger, without any rancour and with a complete sense of equanimity". But fight was necessary because the people who wanted to destroy the future were not open to any other method. Therefore that method was employed and had to be employed. So fight is not necessarily a sign of ill-will. The utmost goodwill would prompt you to fight and fighting therefore is an important part of the expression of goodwill, provided we do it in the right consciousness, but by employing all the three methods that I have explained.