We come now to the third aid in Yoga: the aid of the teacher.
As the supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every man, so its supreme Guide and Teacher is the inner Guide, the World-Teacher, jagad-guru, secret within us. It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge; that light becomes within us the increasing glory of his own self-revelation. He discloses progressively in us his own nature of freedom, bliss, love, power, immortal being. He sets above us his divine example as our ideal and transforms the lower existence into a reflection of that which it contemplates. By the inpouring of his own influence and presence into us he enables the individual being to attain to identity with the universal and transcendent.
What is his method and his system? He has no method and every method. His system is a natural organisation of the highest processes and movements of which the nature is capable. Applying themselves even to the pettiest details and to the actions the most insignificant in their appearance with as much care and thoroughness as to the greatest, they in the end lift all into the Light and transform all. For in his Yoga there is nothing too small to be used and nothing too great to be attempted. As the servant and disciple of the Master has no business with pride or egoism because all is done for him from above, so also he has no right to despond because of his personal deficiencies or the stumblings of his nature. For the Force that works in him is impersonal—or superpersonal—and infinite.
The full recognition of this inner Guide, Master of the Yoga, lord, light, enjoyer and goal of all sacrifice and effort, is of the utmost importance in the path of integral perfection. It is immaterial whether he is first seen as an impersonal Wisdom, Love and Power behind all things, as an Absolute manifesting in the relative and attracting it, as one’s highest Self and the highest Self of all, as a Divine Person within us and in the world, in one of his—or her—numerous forms and names or as the ideal which the mind conceives. In the end we perceive that he is all and more than all these things together. The mind’s door of entry to the conception of him must necessarily vary according to the past evolution and the present nature.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga - I: The Four Aids
There are four things that I would like to point out.
First is the comparison of the guru with the supreme Shastra. As the shastra is present in the heart of every thinking being even so the teacher is in the heart of everyone. There is always the need of the teacher. This is, you might say, a universal law. There is always a relationship between humanity and the Supreme Lord whether we recognise him or not. This relationship is constant and whether we recognise Him or not, whether we ask him or not, he is at work. And he is constantly in the process of teaching. In other words we are already in a school presided over by the Supreme Lord. The whole world is a school in which all of us are pupils and he is the master, he is the teacher. Therefore we should never complain that I have no good guide or no good teacher. There is indeed the teacher and he can be unveiled. There first always the teacher is available, since all life is yoga the whole world is a school of yoga. Yoga is not one special study, it is a common study for everyone. Everyone is a student of yoga whether he knows it or not, whether he likes it or not that is what we are here for — all of us. And the Supreme Lord is the Master of Yoga and he uses the whole of life as a textbook. All that is here in the world, all that is happening here is the textbook for the Lord. He uses every event of life in training all the pupils in the world. It is a constant process.
What is his method? This is the second point. How does he teach? What are the methods by which he teaches us? And Sri Aurobindo says, he has no method and every method. It is not merely a rhetorical statement. It is not something that will startle us, it is a real literal fact. He has no method and every method. And why? Sri Aurobindo explains why he has no method and every method. No one method which he applies to everybody. Because every individual has a certain combination of psychological functioning, he will have a method appropriate to each one. We may only point out how he uses every realm, every kind of trend in the individual, how he himself combines — he is like a Supreme Artist and he combines and recombines the colours of the world and of human beings. And by combining different kinds of colours he produces different designs and patterns and beautiful objects of the world. He wants to make each one of us a blooming flower — every one of us. Nobody is especially a favourite, nobody is prejudiced against. Every one of us is for him a blooming flower in his garden.
Sri Aurobindo says:
His system is a natural organisation of the highest processes and movements of which the nature is capable.
This sentence is central to the whole thing. If you want to develop other systems of education in the world this sentence should be your guideline. Do not prescribe any specific method of teaching. You take your students as they come, see for each one what are the combinations of his or her psychological functioning and see how each one can be lifted up to the highest. Therefore the system will be highly individualised and yet there can be common ways by which the ‘irrigation’ can take place. There are certain forces which are so generated that each individual will approach automatically in his own way just as every tree moves towards the sun. Sun is placed as one general attraction as it were, one magnet, and each plant, each organism in the world approaches the sunlight and tries to reach the sunlight in his own way. Similarly a good teacher puts up certain magnets over the students and then every student will approach, that magnet or those magnets are of such a nature, that they will act upon each individual individually. It will automatically form combinations, psychological methods by which they can grow to the highest. And then
Applying themselves even to the pettiest details and to the actions the most insignificant in their appearance with as much care and thoroughness as to the greatest, they in the end lift all into the Light and transform all.
Pettiest details. There is a beautiful poem of Sri Aurobindo where he says that one who sends Jupiter spinning in the spheres and whatever care he takes in doing so, whatever might he employs in sending Jupiter spinning, the same amount of care, the same amount of might and care he uses in fashioning a curl of the hair. How your hair will curl also requires artistry and supreme artistry. Both of them are equal in his consciousness: sending Jupiter in the spheres on one hand and fashioning the curl of a child. Both are equal in his omnipotent consciousness.
I had one very interesting example: the Mother as the Supreme Teacher. I had the privilege of taking children’s letters to the Mother from time to time and I used to read out the letter to the Mother. I also used to take down some letters even from the Prime Minister. And I could see the same care she would take while reading the letter from the Prime Minister and letter from the child. It was not as if the children's letters are less important and the Prime Minister’s letter is more important — equal care, equal attention. To give you one example, one day one child had written: “I am going to finish my third year of the higher course.” So she had written “mon troisième année”. This is grammatically not correct and when I read that letter Mother said, “give it to me”, it was in 1973, she was ninety–five years old at that time and people used to say that she does not see, she does not hear but this was completely false because I can tell you that I read it myself and Mother said: “Donne moi le papier” — “Give me the paper” — and she said where has she written “mon troisième année”— So I showed her and she said — write “ma troisième année”. And she corrected it herself and she said, when you give the letter to her you explain to her that année is feminine, mon année is correct because of pronunciation but not because of grammar, it is ma troisième année grammatically. This was the care that Mother took to explain to the child and there were so many other important letters with me, but no, this was very important. Applying herself to every minor detail with as much care as the other one. Actually if you saw how Mother was working among all the children, among all the people and also world events, how she found time for everything, what kind of organization, it was unimaginable, amazing, in fact. The Mother at work was the Supreme Karma Yogin, one who knows what is the real action, what is the right action, what is the measure of action, how much care is needed.
I had once taken to her a problem, which was a very simple problem outwardly. We had a delegation coming from the Government of India and I was in charge of the delegation and then we had a problem, which was not a problem normally, but it was a problem. They were all to sit together in the dining hall and the question was who would sit where? Normally this problem does not even get attention, is not even mentioned, people come pell-mell and sit anywhere, so when I told the Mother about it she said: “Be very careful who will sit where. Tell me now.” She drew the table herself on a piece of paper and she asked how many of them were there and I said about fifteen people. She decided who will sit where with whom. And knowing each one, whether that person can talk or will remain quiet — because all people cannot talk, they don’t have equal capacity of talking and even if they talk one has to be careful in talking —what kind of talk it will be, some people are so boisterous that they might spoil the whole atmosphere, some people might not talk at all and there are some people in the Ashram who do not know how to talk at a dinner party. And Mother knew everyone so well that she told me you put this person here, this person here… What tremendous care. It was not just something to be thrown out, just to be done: here is the dining table, people will come, pell-mell they sit, you chat and then disperse. Every activity has importance, significance. Every person sitting next to another is important. It is like organising the whole universe and the stars. If the sun was slightly nearer to the earth what would have happened? If the sun was slightly farther than where it is, what would happen to the earth? It will be so cold that we couldn’t survive. If it was slightly nearer the whole earth would be blazed, we could not live. It is the exact measurement. In the Divine organisation of things everything is so situated, so measured, one can even say that God is a great geometrician; he is a master of geometry. All the measurements are so beautifully done, such proportion, in every minute detail and even in the greatest, the largest movements the Divine intervention, wisdom is at work equally. Sri Aurobindo says:
For in his Yoga there is nothing too small to be used and nothing too great to be attempted.
Therefore attention has to be equal. This is the second point to be mentioned.
First was that everywhere the Supreme Teacher is present, all over. The second point is that his system and his method are of such a nature that everything receives his highest attention, fullest attention, complete attention. And he organises in detail everything as also from the large so that all psychological combinations which are necessary for each individual are affected and ultimately they all rise towards perfection. That is his aim and method.
Third thing is the recognition of him as the guide on the part of each one. We may have many other teachers, we may have many books, we may have many experiences but it is very important for everyone to discover, to recognise him, to recognise the Supreme Guide. Above all so-called teachers there is the Supreme Guide. Sri Aurobindo says:
The full recognition of this inner Guide, Master of the Yoga, lord, light, enjoyer and goal of all sacrifice and effort, is of the utmost importance in the path of integral perfection.
Even if you have teachers, human teachers, you may have temporary guides, permanent guides, whatever… The real thing comes when you begin to recognise the inner Guide. He is indeed always present and to recognise him so that you can say: “The Supreme Lord is my teacher.” All other teachers are only helpers and human teachers are really good teachers only when they realise their relative importance and encourage all the pupils to discover the inner Guide instead of substituting themselves as the inner Guide, which many teachers have the tendency to do so, they want to be permanent guides and teachers and they impose upon pupils such a discipline that they may not be able to discover the Supreme Guide. Whereas a good teacher is one who allows every individual to discover, to recognise the Supreme Guide so that every pupil feels that his teacher is the Supreme Lord. This is the third point.
The fourth point is the manner by which you will recognise this inner Guide, in what form you will recognise him. There are many ways by which you recognise him because the Lord himself is not one-sided. He is multiple, multi-sided, all sided in fact. There are comprehensive ways of knowing the Divine; there are partial ways of knowing the Divine. Depending upon each one’s approach you will start with recognising him in one form or the other. Sri Aurobindo gives here four or five different ways by which you can recognise him at the beginning. You may recognise him as impersonal wisdom, love and power. You may perceive in this world: Wisdom at work, and trust in that wisdom. Once one sadhak wrote to the Mother, with something that was happening in the Ashram, and he was very much troubled and said: why do you allow this? Mother’s answer was that what is happening is a mixture of truth and falsehood. And then she advised and said, you remain quiet and witness how the wisdom works it out so that falsehood is eliminated and the truth remains. In our ordinary rush of things seeing wrong happening we try to mutilate, make it worst sometimes, because our perception may be wrong, our own revolt may be wrong and therefore while trying to throw out the falsehood we may throw out the truth at the same time. It is the wisdom, wisdom knows exactly where the truth is and where exactly is the falsehood, and knows also how to eliminate falsehood without sacrificing the truth. That is the special mark of Wisdom. Wisdom has the true perception of the truth and falsehood, how they are inter-mixed, and knows also how to separate.
In India there is an image of the swan. If there is milk and water both combined together how do you separate milk from water? It is said that the swan has got a consciousness by which when he drinks he will drink only the milk and throw away the water. It is an image; such is the image of wisdom. You give any kind of mixture in the world it will discriminate between what is right and what is wrong and also eliminate the wrong in such a way that Truth or the Right is not thrown away at the same time. One might visualize the Divine in that wisdom and indeed it is so, but the Divine is not only the wisdom. Some people might see him only as Wisdom, some people might see him as love, some people might see him as power. These are different forms in which we approach because our own consciousness is very limited. We may be highly intellectual therefore the attraction of wisdom is very great to us. We may be highly capable, competent therefore power affects us much more, and therefore we may see the divine as the power. Or, by nature you may be full of love, therefore the love of the Divine attracts us most. And there are many other aspects of the Divine. According to what is so much prominent in us we recognise him as that.
That is why in India there is a word which is called ishta devata which means preferred deity. Every individual in the world whether he knows it or not has an ishta devata. That is how human beings approach the Higher. Even in human terms you will find different individuals who admire different people. Automatic admiration for something that is high and our tendency is also to make others to believe that my ishta devata should also be yours — which is wrong. In India it is recognised that each one can have his own ishta devata, you should not prescribe to others. Some people are attracted by Durga, some by Mahakali, some by Saraswati, some by Ganesh, some by Subramaniam, Kartikeyan, different gods each one has a specific character. You recognise him in one way or the other according to your own nature and temperament, whichever is suitable to your temperament, is your ishta devata.
Question: If you love all?
That also happens but gradually. It depends on your universality. But very often when you say that you love all, there is still a preference in most of us, because our nature is not yet comprehensive. When your nature becomes comprehensive then you rise to a higher point. You pray like Sri Aurobindo, you will pray to every god and you will say now let me go beyond all gods. Then you become absolutely connected to the Supreme Divine.
You may recognise him as Power or Love or Wisdom, in many forms of them. This is how you recognise. Sri Aurobindo tells us how to recognise. One of the ways to recognise is to recognize what you admire automatically. What is your highest point of admiration? Every human being secretly admires something, enjoys something. And if you can become conscious of it you can determine and then you can follow it and as you follow it will become expanded gradually. Your admiration also constantly changes in that way.
That is the first way by which you can recognise. Or you may recognise him “as an Absolute manifesting in the relative and attracting it.” Love, Power, Wisdom, these are different aspects but you may say that you are not limited to any aspect, my admiration is for the Supreme, the Absolute, so you may recognise an Absolute working in the world which is present in all the relativities. That may be another way of recognising him. You may recognise him as a Divine Person within us. Absolute is not a person. Absolute is a principle which is impersonal. The Divine Person is a personal relationship — a very important point about the Divine Person is that He enters into relationship. It is like going to a river which is flowing. Whoever approaches the river can take the water. The river itself does not come out and says, you are my very favourite and I give you water. It is impersonal; there is no special relationship of the river with you but its gifts are available to all. Whoever approaches can take advantage. But Personal Divine is different. The Personal Divine has relationship with every one of us in a very special manner.
There is a beautiful story in India of Gopal, one young boy and the mother who was very poor but wanted her child to study in a school. She managed to get him admitted but the school was very far off and the mother had to send the child through a long road in the forest, which was infested with animals, and the child was very much afraid. So the child told his mother: “How should I pass through the forest to reach the school? I am very afraid, why don’t you come with me?” But the mother was working somewhere and she had no time to accompany the child. She said: “Look I have another son of mine, he lives in the forest and if you need him you can call him and he will come and take you whenever there is a difficulty.” And the child whenever he passed and had a fear he called out and said: “Come and help me!” And indeed his elder brother appeared and always took him. And they used to have fun, good talks. One day there was the birthday of his teacher and everyone was required, not compulsorily but it was expected that everyone would give some gift to the teacher. And the child told the mother that he had to give something to his teacher but the mother had nothing to give. So she said: “You ask your brother he will give you.” On his way he called out to his brother who gave him a very little vessel in which there was little milk. That was the gift he gave. Of course the boy was slightly ashamed that his gift compared to others was nothing. But it was all that he could manage. All the boys in his school gave big gifts to the teacher and with great hesitation he offered his own little thing. But lo and behold! When the milk was being poured it continued to pour and pour and pour endlessly. And vessel after vessel was filled but this trickle of milk was still continuing. And the teacher became extremely intrigued and he said: “Who has brought this milk?” The boy said: “I brought it.” “Where did you get it?” “My brother gave it to me.” So he said: “Let me see your brother. Who is this brother of yours who can give this kind of miraculous streak of milk?” The boy said: “Alright, I will show you my brother.” And then the boy took the teacher into the forest and called out to his brother and he saw his brother standing and he said to the teacher: “See, he is here.” But the teacher could not see him.” Only the boy could see him, the teacher could not see him. The boy was surprised and said to the teacher: “But he is here.” But the teacher replied that he didn't see him. Then his brother told the boy that his teacher has to be as young as you are, as small as you are, as pure as you are to be able to see him, but because he is not he will not be able to see him.
This is the speciality of personal God. When the Divine is personal to you there is a special relationship with you. Everybody can cultivate this: a special relationship with the Divine. You determine… as Mother says: If you think that he is angry with you he is angry with you; if you think that God is happy with you he is happy with you; it depends upon you. How you build up a relationship with the Divine so he is with you. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a beautiful sentence: “As they approach me, so do I approach them.” That is the speciality of the personal God. He is not like a river in which everybody can equally take water. He gives specially for each one depending on the relationship that you build up. You can relate yourself to the Divine, you recognise the Divine either as Wisdom or as Power or Love or you recognise him as an Absolute impersonal or you recognise him as a Divine Person. You can recognise him in one form or numerous forms or you can recognise him also as an Ideal. There are ideals of Liberty, of Equality or Fraternity, all kinds of ideals, virtues of various kinds. Purity may be your preferred ideal so Divine comes to you as Purity; generosity may be your ideal so he comes as Generosity. In one way or the other you begin to recognise that there is in the world something other than yourself. There is a magnet somewhere other than yourself who attracts everything in the world. Then gradually you go through all this and the Supreme Divine reveals himself supremely in all his aspects.
The mind’s door of entry to the conception of him must necessarily vary according to the past evolution and the present nature.
How you enter into the Divine will depend upon your own past development, your past evolution, your present composition of the mind, accordingly you will enter into him.
This inner Guide is often veiled at first by the very intensity of our personal effort and by the ego’s preoccupation with itself and its aims. As we gain in clarity and the turmoil of egoistic effort gives place to a calmer self-knowledge, we recognise the source of the growing light within us. We recognise it retrospectively as we realise how all our obscure and conflicting movements have been determined towards an end that we only now begin to perceive, how even before our entrance into the path of the Yoga the evolution of our life has been designedly led towards its turning-point. For now we begin to understand the sense of our struggles and efforts, successes and failures. At last we are able to seize the meaning of our ordeals and sufferings and can appreciate the help that was given us by all that hurt and resisted and the utility of our very falls and stumblings. We recognise this divine leading afterwards, not retrospectively but immediately, in the moulding of our thoughts by a transcendent Seer, of our will and actions by an all-embracing Power, of our emotional life by an all-attracting and all-assimilating Bliss and Love. We recognise it too in a more personal relation that from the first touched or at the last seizes us; we feel the eternal presence of a supreme Master, Friend, Lover, Teacher. We recognise it in the essence of our being as that develops into likeness and oneness with a greater and wider existence; for we perceive that this miraculous development is not the result of our own efforts: an eternal Perfection is moulding us into its own image. One who is the Lord or Ishwara of the Yogic philosophies, the Guide in the conscious being (caitya guru or antaryāmin), the Absolute of the thinker, the Unknowable of the Agnostic, the universal Force of the materialist, the supreme Soul and the supreme Shakti, the One who is differently named and imaged by the religions, is the Master of our Yoga.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga - I: The Four Aids
There are three ways by which we recognise either retrospectively or immediately or we recognise him as constantly accompanying us. Not in specific acts but all the time as One who is accompanying us. In all the three ways we recognise the Supreme Lord. Often we recognise him retrospectively. When you discover the Divine help suddenly at one time then you feel: Oh! But he was with me earlier at all the stages of my development. Now he has revealed himself but indeed He was present.
In my own experience my major experience was my reading of The Life Divine. The arrival of this book in my life, at what time this book came into my hands. I was struggling for the previous two or three years with only one question: “What is Truth?” That was my ishta devata. Truth was my ishta devata. What is the Truth? And I was searching desperately—what is the Truth. And therefore I was struggling with pain and I read books after books after books after books — literally. Within a few years, two years or three years I read enormously. All the time getting disappointed and finding no answer to my question. It was painful for me because I knew that I would not be able to take the next step in my life unless I know the Truth. And you need to take the next step in your life. So it was necessary for me to discover the Truth. And I did not believe in God so there was no prayer in my heart. But one day I prayed and I said: “If you are God you know what I am.” If there is God he knows me, I may not know him but if he is God, if he claims to be what he is he must know me. So I told him: “If you know me you know what I need and if you are capable give me the answer. I want to know the Truth.” There was no answer yet. So I decided that now since I don’t know what the Truth is, my next step will be in the wilderness. Not knowing the Truth I will take pell-mell what seems to be the best although I will know that it is not true but still whatever is best. And I was going to take a decision of leaving my college, because I thought that these college years I was spending were useless and I was going to devote myself to village work because India requires a lot of work in villages. I was about to take a decision and then suddenly a friend of mine came and said: “My uncle has given me a book to read (it was for him to read not for me) but as you know I am incapable of giving attention to such a difficult book. But my uncle is persistent and he will ask me after a week whether I read the book or not. So will you kindly help me by reading the book and tell me the summary of it and then I will tell my uncle that I have read the book and this is the summary of it and he will leave me.” I said, “What is that book?” He said: The name of the book is The Life Divine. So I told him, this was my first answer: “I have read a lot of mysticism, they all speak of God who does not exist and in any case they don’t know why God should have created this kind of world. If God exists he would have developed a better kind of world, not this kind of world. If he is omnipotent what should he create this kind of world? So enough! And sometimes when they ask the question the philosophers say why God has created this world is inexplicable. Then they say you can become one with God and if you become one with God then you will know the answer to the question.” These were the questions I put to him and I said: “Therefore these books I have banned I will not myself read such books.” He was disappointed but the book remained on my table. After two days his uncle asked him if he had read that book so he came running to me and said: “ Kireet no for God sake, for my sake you read the book. I want to tell my uncle that I have read the book and he will leave me in peace. Please read the book.” Again I told him: “Look I have no time to read this book.” Then he said “Sri Aurobindo, you know who he is?” I said: “Whoever he may be but The Life Divine and the Divine itself means that I will again go into that confusion. I don’t want any confusing writings now. I have had enough of it.” He said Sri Aurobindo sits six feet above the ground; such is the greatness of this master.” I said, “Whether he sits six feet or twelve feet I don’t want to read this book.” So he left me as a lost case, he felt that I had not been convinced and the book was still lying on my table.
And suddenly one day after my dinner I came to my room I just said to myself, let me just glance at the book, and then I glanced and the first chapter that seized me was: The Double Soul in Man — this was the title — and this seized me tremendously. Because everybody speaks of one soul but here there was a double soul in man. That attracted me very much so I said; alright let me read this chapter. Then I went backward, I started the book. I read the first volume of The Life Divine twice in one week. Every line, it was as if it were a downpour of knowledge and every word that I read was true. My whole aspiration to know the Truth, in every line I said, yes this is true, this is true, this is true. In four days I read the first volume, twenty-two hours, I read incessantly. And then I said I should revise now the first volume and I revised it. I recognised that my struggle for two or three years was all designed by Him because if I have not read so many books I will not have understood The Life Divine. It is such a complex book, so much background is needed that if I had not passed through painfully I would not have recognised the value of what Sri Aurobindo had written. Retrospectively, I realised it was Sri Aurobindo who was taking me through this struggle, he was all the time with me and then he had now replied within no time and through somebody who had no care for the book himself. He had brought me the book and his uncle who did not know me was all the time hammering him, “read the book, read the book…” he did not know that he was hammering me actually to read it. That is how I recognised the Divine’s hand retrospectively. You may know the Divine is there through your tribulations all the time; he is always there. If he gives you this experience or that experience or another experience remember it is the Divine who wants to open your eyes so that you may recognise him.
That is how Sri Aurobindo says:
We recognise it retrospectively as we realise how all our obscure and conflicting movements have been determined towards an end that we only now begin to perceive, how even before our entrance into the path of the Yoga the evolution of our life has been designedly led towards its turning-point. For now we begin to understand the sense of our struggles and efforts, successes and failures. At last we are able to seize the meaning of our ordeals and sufferings and can appreciate the help that was given us by all that hurt and resisted and the utility of our very falls and stumblings.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga - I: The Four Aids
This is one way by which we recognise. And then “We recognise this divine leading afterwards, not retrospectively but immediately…” Once the Divine’s hand has been seen you can see it at every step. We may know that he is there behind any experience that you will get. You can ask the Divine what is the meaning of this, please tell me why this experience? Why am I in a state of tremendous joy? Why am I in a state of great despondency? Why this sorrow? Why this failure, why this success? What does it mean? You begin to see him immediately, at every step he answers you: look this is the meaning. You should read the Uttarpara speech of Sri Aurobindo in which he explains… When he was taken to the jail, by now he had already had a supreme experience of nirvana and he had an assurance from the Divine “I will lead you, I will be always with you”. Already he had this. And yet when he was taken to jail from his home by the police he himself writes: “I was shaken and I cried out ‘Why this?’” He complained to the Divine that he had promised that he would always protect him but now where is his protection? I am now taken to jail. And the Supreme Divine said: “Wait.” He waited in the solitude of the jail and then Sri Aurobindo says, he put the Bhagavad Gita into my hands. And he revealed to him the necessity for him to undertake the yoga of the Gita which he could not have done if he was in the hustle-bustle of the activities of politics. Outwardly it may seem that when Sri Aurobindo was removed from his field of action he was thrown into a way where there was no protection but that was only the protection. The jail gave him the seclusion that was absolutely necessary for him to study the Gita and to get the revelation of his work for the future. Sri Krishna said after three days: “Now do you see? You were shaken in your faith. But now do you see? I cut your bonds in one stroke. To you your action was very dear and by yourself you would have not left it. So I had to force you because I want to embrace you and in that hustle-bustle you would not have embraced me. Now you are alone with me. I can embrace you, I can pour all my love to you, I can pour all my knowledge into you, I can show you what is your next path, what is your next step.” So, his being taken to the jail was not immediately known as the hand of God — retrospectively he knew, but afterwards all the times the Divine revealed himself and showed him how to move forward.
We recognise this divine leading afterwards, not retrospectively but immediately, in the moulding of our thoughts by a transcendent Seer, of our will and actions by an all-embracing Power, of our emotional life by an all-attracting and all-assimilating Bliss and Love. We recognise it too in a more personal relation that from the first touched or at the last seizes us; we feel the eternal presence of a supreme Master, Friend, Lover, Teacher. We recognise it in the essence of our being as that develops into likeness and oneness with a greater and wider existence; for we perceive that this miraculous development is not the result of our own efforts: an eternal Perfection is moulding us into its own image. One who is the Lord or Ishwara of the Yogic philosophies, the Guide in the conscious being (caitya guru or antaryāmin), the Absolute of the thinker, the Unknowable of the Agnostic, the universal Force of the materialist, the supreme Soul and the supreme Shakti, the One who is differently named and imaged by the religions, is the Master of our Yoga.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga - I: The Four Aids
By whatever name he may come — he may come as a materialist and he may worship matter. Even that is the method of the Divine to make you worship matter because he may reveal himself to you through the matter. Even an atheist suddenly may become aware of the Divine in matter — only by worship of matter itself.
To see, know, become and fulfil this One in our inner selves and in all our outer nature, was always the secret goal and becomes now the conscious purpose of our embodied existence. To be conscious of him in all parts of our being and equally in all that the dividing mind sees as outside our being, is the consummation of the individual consciousness. To be possessed by him and possess him in ourselves and in all things is the term of all empire and mastery. To enjoy him in all experience of passivity and activity, of peace and of power, of unity and of difference is the happiness which the Jiva, the individual soul manifested in the world, is obscurely seeking. This is the entire definition of the aim of integral Yoga; it is the rendering in personal experience of the truth which universal Nature has hidden in herself and which she travails to discover. It is the conversion of the human soul into the divine soul and of natural life into divine living.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga - I: The Four Aids