The Sunlit Path|Oct 20, 2011 6:18 AM| by:

Rules and Yoga

When we leave the old world and commit to a life in the search for Truth, discipline is extremely helpful to keep in check all the old movements. However, to make hard and fast rules that apply to all is very often detrimental, for each one’s nature is unique, with equally unique requirements. Sri Aurobindo tells us what Rules signify for an aspirant.

The general principle of self-consecration and self-giving is the same for all in this yoga, but each has his own way of consecration and self-giving. The way that X takes is good for X, just as the way that you take is the right one for you, because it is in consonance with your nature. If there were not this plasticity and variety, if all had to be cut in the same pattern, yoga would be a rigid mental machinery, not a living power.

When you can sing out of your inner consciousness in which you feel the Mother moving all your actions, there is no reason why you should not do it. The development of capacities is not only permissible but right, when it can be made part of the yoga; one can give not only one’s soul, but all one’s powers to the Divine.


It is a little difficult for the wider spiritual outlook to answer your question in the way you want and every mental being wants, with a trenchant “Thou shalt” or “Thou shalt not” – especially when the “thou” is meant to cover “all”. For while there is an identity of essential aim, while there are general broad lines of endeavour, yet there is not in detail one common set of rules in inner things that can apply to all seekers. You ask: “Is not such and such a thing harmful?” But what is harmful to one may be helpful to another, what is helpful at a certain stage may cease to be helpful at another, what is harmful under certain conditions may be helpful under other conditions, what is done in a certain spirit would be innocuous or even beneficial …. there are so many things to be considered: the spirit, the circumstances, the person, the need and cast of the nature, the stage. That is why it is said so often that the Guru must deal with each disciple according to his separate nature and accordingly guide his sadhana; even if it is the same line of sadhana for all, yet at every point for each it differs. That also is the reason why we say that the divine way cannot be understood by the mind, because the mind acts according to hard and fast rules and standards, while the spirit sees the truth of all and the truth of each and acts variously according to its own comprehensive and complex vision. That is also why we say that no one can understand by his personal mental judgement the Mother’s actions and reasons for action: it can only be understood by entering into the larger consciousness from which she sees things and acts upon them. That is baffling to the mind because it uses its small measures, but that is the truth of the matter.

So you will see that here there is no mental rule, but in each case the guidance is determined by spiritual reasons which are of a flexible character. There is no other consideration, no rule, Music, painting, poetry and many other activities which are of the mind and vital can be used as part of spiritual development or of the work and for a spiritual purpose: it depends on the spirit in which they are done.

Sri Aurobindo


  • http://Website Indu Shankar

    So beautiful!