Prayer as Consecration

Prayer as Consecration

There are moments, if not often, when we feel that Mother alone is enough, nothing is needed. At those moments one feels sweet all over the body. It is not the body that feels sweet, it is the being which is felt in the body. Those who have had it once, will scarcely forget it for the rest of their lives. One imagines whether it cannot stay forever. When Indira died, a cabinet minister wanted to be installed as Prime Minister before the next one was elected, at least for one day. When he was refused, he toned down his request to one hour! One may have been in the cabinet for decades but to be its leader for a short time, however short it is, is not given to anyone. It is not one hour or one day, it is his reaching the peak. A mountain of thousands of mile spreads itself and rises to a small peak. The small peak at the top presupposes a wide enormous mountain below. Still, there are no mountains that are all peaks. The theory of evolution says that when peaks multiply in a great number, the mountain rises to a further height making the erstwhile peak the fort.

The sweetness and thrill that is caused by wanting only the Mother can become permanent. When it does so, our aspiration rises one grade - from physical, vital, mental upwards - or deepens into consecration. The experience of sweetness is the greatest achievement of a devotee, a lifetime achievement, but as against the requirements of surrender, which Sri Aurobindo called difficult, it is a drop in the ocean. A prudent, frugal government employee saves all his life and retires with several lakhs of savings, which very few others have succeeded in doing. But if he wants to start an industry, his enormous savings cannot even buy a plot for his future factory or maybe enough to erect a compound wall. Mostly it may be abundant for preoperative expenses. Surrender, said Sri Aurobindo, is difficult. But there is nothing wrong in attempting it. It is great.

In a democracy anyone is given the RIGHT to head the nation, but not all have that capacity. In a free society like ours, no one is prevented from great success; but in practice very few achieve that. This is a truism in life which, by inversion, becomes a superstition. This superstition is at the basis of fundamentalism, and enables tyrants at home as well as at work to be tyrannical. Just now we see how blatantly labour, the poor, the children, the woman, the weak were exploited in earlier centuries. There is a higher spiritual truth in such tyranny. We shall only consider the psychological-social realities in such situations. They differ.

  • The strong really believe they are disciplining the weak and theirs is a service.
  • The weak reciprocate it with a similar emotion and teach themselves to be disciplined.
  • The strong find their cruel instincts emerging and enjoy it. 1
  • The weak are helpless and submit out of necessity.
  • The cruel strong persuade themselves with self-righteousness.
  • The helpless weak, whose instinct is to rebel, use their minds to convince themselves of the rightness of the situation.

I confine myself to the last description. This is superstition, folly, and self-inflicted pain. As the depressed person comes to be attached to this depression and does not allow the depression to leave him, the superstitious righteous weak accept their fate as a virtue of necessity. In them, the subconscious grows in revolt. When these people emerge in an altered social situation where they are masters, they tend to be cruel and enjoy their cruelty. That is why, though it is a distant and distorted version of this phenomenon, it is said that a chaste woman is also capable of murder.

When people are utterly free to change their religion, caste, party, faith, etc., they CHOOSE not to change, though they see the other religion, caste, faith etc. is far superior. In the measure one willingly, knowingly, happily chooses to adhere to a principle which does not work, he becomes a superstitious tyrant, tyrannizing over himself.

This is an age-old problem which man has solved in several ways.

  • First and foremost, they become superstitious victims to their own folly.
  • They are sources of cruelty to others.
  • Each person is RESOURCEFUL at his own level of personality. At that level, they make an ideal of their superstition. 2
  • Thus, they effectively prevent their further progress.3

A solution is open to them at their level. Instead of INSISTING on their own personalities as the ultimate mould for their future growth, they must consider alternatives. Whether persons of No. 2 category have a solution in Mother? They have. They knock against the wall of tradition and try to bend Mother to fit into that groove or mould. Instead, if they shift to Mother and gently, but REALLY rely on Mother, they will witness the phenomenon of the tradition changing in their own context in a limited way. How many times have we not seen it.

Again there is the distinction between prayer, our own requirement and consecration, the will of the Mother.

Aspiration - Consecration - Surrender is the progression. By a perversion, one mistakes one's own prayer for consecration and that leads him to take the result as Mother's will. It is not Mother's will, it is his own will, which he takes to be Mother's will.

Suppose a person at this stage AWAKENS, what should he do?

  1. Genuinely shift to consecration.
  2. Practice that consecration in daily activities and see the infinite power (an attack that can debilitate one for life disappears in a trice).

Such a superstition will not go unless one initiates oneself into non-stop growth.

Please consider the nine stages that end in surrender.

Faith -- worship - obedience
Adoration - self-giving - Delight
Love - Ecstasy -- Surrender.

To reach Faith, one does so at the fourth stage. Shakti, Viryam, Deiva prakriti, Shraddha (faith). Our work just now is lifeless. First we must put Shakti into it, i.e. must do it at the peak of physical efficiency. Next, one has to put into it the intensity of temperament (viryam), i.e. one must do the work with the greatest possible interest. Bill Gate's work qualifies for these two levels. Next, our prakriti must be changed into Deiva prakriti, i.e. our force must be replaced by divine Force. Finally, work must be done not by our belief in our capacity, or social rules or mechanical efficiency of our tool, BUT relying solely on the Divine, i.e. Shraddha (faith). The nine levels start with Faith. Are we capable of it? Where then is the question of the ninth level of surrender? It does not mean it should not be attempted. Only that we are 13 steps before that surrender. "I shall tell Mother," is fit language for one in the 13th stage which is surrender. Till then, this will lead to self-deception.

In practice, we tell Mother when we see no way out. When a work is possible for us, we forget Mother, or if we remember, we ask Her to fulfill our desire or work. It is not telling Mother at all. One can speak to Mother only when we are conscious of our problem and ourselves, better still conscious of Mother. When we do feel conscious of a problem or ourselves, we can look inside and see that we do NOT want to speak to Mother. Sincerity will unfailingly show where we are conscious or not. The only alternative to insincerity is to change into sincerity. This shift is heavy, difficult, and must be undertaken carefully, slowly and gradually.

Locate a work where you are unconscious and forget Mother - e.g. starting to read a book - and make a decision to catch yourself in the act at least once in ten acts. Achieve a breakthrough. Physical urge, vital energy or mental preference will have a marked liking of our forgetting. It has to be met, handled, broken, and progress made. The key lies in the strategy and its sincerity.

Sincerity uses sincere strategies.

Insincerity uses insincere strategies.

Symptoms of change:

  • Firstly, you may discover that you are more unconscious than you assumed.
  • Another great discovery will be that you may forget the experiment for a few months which means you don't want to change.
  • Catch your FIRST waking thought. If this comes to you, there is hope.
  • Each time a choice is to be made, catch yourself and see on which side you are.
  • Leveling off:

    Suppose water is pumped out and you watch it. You will see water collecting around the pump and running along the gradient. After four hours of pumping when an acre of land will be irrigated, if the water runs along properly constructed channels, you will see here a pool of water around the pump and a stream running along the gradient almost wasting 90% of it. When human energy is channeled, it can achieve something. Take a boy who applied himself to studies and rose to be a Collector. Take another of his age and circumstance who, given freedom, has roamed all over, spent a lot of money and become a senior clerk in a local office. That is the difference which is unpardonable. But when the latter has developed a philosophy and justifies his actions, it is willful ignorance. Our devotees praying to Mother and imagining that to be consecration is such a superstitious crime. The secret lies here for anyone to see. One who sees and wants to change has hope. Those who enter the bypaths of life have a few hundreds in which to divert themselves.

    The fashion in which one levels off will be determined by 1) the family, 2) the society, 3) fashion of the hour, 4) our own preferences, 5) available energy, et. Instead of all these determining our future, our own decision to progress should decide at each moment. Without man arriving at such a decision and renewing it periodically each time, leveling off will be inevitable. If a philosophical justification is added to it, the fate of progress is sealed.

    The truth here is, the lazy man as well as the dynamic person has to level off at some time. Therefore, the lazy man will have a subconscious justification that he is not very different from the dynamic man. It is true the process of leveling off is the same. What is also true is one does so at the first step and the other at the tenth step.

    He who refuses to level off is a devotee.

    Mother says She would never give us a single opportunity to lie. I shall recast it as, "Mother gives innumerable opportunities to those who have decided to progress and not level off."

    If one understands this article, the following will help. Review in this light:

    • the lives of your friends and relatives who have achieved.
    • The lives of those who failed.
    • Those who justify their position.
    • Those who complain against fate, Mother, life and every other thing.
      1. Our subconscious activities are on the alert, maybe more on the alert than our conscious awareness.
      2. Man has the capacity to believe that his ideas are facts.
      3. Man can be totally oblivious of an apparent truth.
      4. Man can believe himself to be the very opposite of what he really is.
      5. He can harbour the very ridiculous belief that the part is the whole.
    • Sri Aurobindo's yoga is often described as the unconscious becoming conscious. Of course, the subconscious becoming conscious is its part. This means we must be aware of the functions or functioning of our involuntary muscles and organs - heart, liver, brain, etc. It is here man is most alert. Surrender, consecration, 'I shall tell Mother', will be true to one who is aware of Mother, as these activities are self-aware in ourselves.

    • Observe others for this phenomenon. One would expect a promotion after passing an examination. Now, when he has not yet appeared for it, he would be disappointed by not getting the promotion because in his mind, his agreeing to pass the exam is converted into an accomplished fact that he has already passed it. We take surrender like that.
    • Suppose in a company where there are four persons each of whom has invested one crore out of simple goodness of friendship, a fifth person is included in their conversations. The fifth person will have 'a true complaint' of not getting his share of profits, totally forgetting that he has no investment there.
    • Anyone in a family or a company of several thousand workers believes that the company is his and there will be no company if he goes away. He believes the company owes its all to him. This is what he calls his devotion to the company.

    "Let me speak to Mother" is one version of such follies that man has. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, MAN is selfish. He even says that he was selfish. The human organism is created as a selfish creature. Ego is developed to justify it. ALL our thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations, and acts are the expressions of that ego and that selfishness. Each time we give expression to such an act or thought, we fortify our ego, instead of destroying it.

    Consciousness - issues involved in accepting Mother

    • HE alone chooses, it is never given to Man to choose Him.
    • This is so because it is the Original Ignorance where the Play began.
    • The enjoyment of the Play resides in man not being able to awake himself.
    • That Original Ignorance, apart from expressing itself as six other Ignorances, also expresses as sensitivities, propensities of desire, preferences of mind, spiritual partialities for the spirit and the inability in Overmind. To convert consecration into prayer is one of them.
    • Vices or inefficiencies or imperfections of the next plane can express themselves here as virtues, abilities, perfections and can be ideals that generate sentiments and sensitivities.
    • There is an evolutionary significance in Sri Aurobindo giving up His bodily existence.
      • o Mother called it the betrayal of the sadhaks.
      • o She changed it several times as non-cooperation, lack of response, etc. and finally toned it down to humanity's disregard for the Avatar.
      • o It is seen in Sri Aurobindo being compelled to speak or do things against His wont.
      • o Descent of Supermind, reunion of Pakistan suffered that fate.
      • o Bengal famine would have been prevented had Bengal asked for Help.
      • o Communal carnage of 1948 in Naokali did not awaken Bengal to aspiration.
      • o Such an awakening is psychic awakening which was not seen.
      • o The issue before this article is NOT the absence of that awakening, but the cherished love of the unconsciousness whose sleep in the tenebrous womb the soul seeks.
      • o It is the wedding function, not marriage felicity that man asks for .
      • o The very sweetness in the flesh, the acme of spiritual attainment, is not so appealing as the enjoyment of expansive cruelty to a daughter-in-law.
    • The very first step in this direction is Silence in the mind. I am trying to achieve the goal by talking or writing, both of which are self-defeating strategies.
    • Doing only those things that come to us from outside, without our taking initiative, is the only remedy.
    • Giving up the initiative, which is the hallmark of surrender remains the one supreme remedy.
    • The next best is to learn to make an offering or to earn the recipient's offering while our attitude compels us to give. The inherent contradiction in Chapter I, The Life Divine, cryptically rising in daily life.
    • Giving of God, if responded to by man with self-giving, we can say the Time has come.
    • The formula is, "Evoke self-giving by Self-giving." That will be the Hour.
    • The Self-giving is not from the surface, but from the psychic in the subliminal.
    • The subliminal is the meeting place of the subconscient and the Superconscient.
    • Psychic response is symbolic of the subconscient evoking the response of the Superconscient.
    • The social waves of fashion are the unleashing of the depths on the surface.
    • It can be of the subconscient or of the Superconscient.
    • Revolutions bring out the subconscient ocean to the surface. All development moves - Tom Peters, Gorbachev, Berlin Wall, Chrysler, New Deal, Model T, technological advancements, Internet, as their crown the revolution of rising expectations - bring the social Superconscient to its surface.