The Way of Purification
The central aim of our endeavour is the divini-sation of our nature. That implies a process or processes for the gradual change and eventual transformation of the human into divine nature. And this process involves a twenty-four hour programme.
You need to be ever vigilant and make a determined effort to put behind you all that contradicts your high aim and promote all that furthers its realisation. And the major part of this effort lies in your psychological field. Each one is a medley of some qualities that are heritages of the animal past and some which are the seeds of a diviner future. The Gita calls them daivi and adaivi, godly and ungodly. Let us call them negative and positive, those that diminish our human status and those that add to it. Most of the former ones are related to our ego-desire complex which overspreads our entire being, mind, life and body. They hold us in their iron grip and keep us running behind evanescent objects, keep us divided and separate from others in our self-centred islands: selfishness, aggrandisement, greed, anger, violence, passion and their brood. You must make a sincere and consistent effort to reject them. You reject them by denying expression to them, refusing to let their movements take place in you. This rejection begins with suppression, a willed denial of their urges. Gradually their urge becomes less and less. Once they find that you are determined not to indulge in them, under whatever pretext, they let you alone.
There is a more positive and effective way to counter these movements and to go beyond their range. It is to cultivate their opposites. You encourage and deliberately promote their opposite qualities. Meanness must be supplanted by generosity, anger by forgiveness, hate by love (or by indifference) etc. Every day, every moment, you are given the choice: to choose the hard way, shreyas, and move towards the Divine or to prefer the easier one, preyas, and slide down in the scale of evolution, animalward. The seeker for the Divine has only one standard: what speeds up growth towards the Divine is good, what retards it is evil. So you follow this simple rule according to your best lights, with sincerity. Sincerity is your safeguard. Even if you commit mistakes of judgement in the process, it will not be of consequence. You are protected. Take every occasion as an opportunity to put your weight on the side of the Divine, the higher values and reject the lure of the lower nature. You will find, in this labour, much guidance in the fundamental codes of Ethics developed by the ancients. Of course it is the spirit and not the letter of these guidelines that must be regarded and followed. Qualities like benevolence, kindness, service, harmony, loyalty, truth in thought, speech and act, gratitude are soul-qualities and in the measure in which they are practised and developed, the passage is cleared for the soul to emerge into your life across the thinning curtains of ignorance and falsehood of the lower nature.
Deep within, at the centre of your being, there is the soul, the psychic being, which is a portion of the Divine, a concentration of the Divine Consciousness. It is the fount of love, harmony, unity, truth. Forge your life-activity in such a manner that the influence, the intimations, the light, the awareness of this psychic person get a chance to awake into your life and the facility to direct and shape its course. This can happen only when you create in yourself an atmosphere favourable to its emergence, a psychic climate. Let every movement in your daily life be governed by this consideration. This entails a rigorous self-purification, catharsis, and you can take it that no real spiritual life is possible unless you weave your regular pattern of life in terms of this inner, pure, luminous psychic flame. Try to become conscious of this presence in yourself, develop a habit of communicating with it. Hold yourself in silence and refer everything to it for guidance. Do not let your preference or prejudice—conscious or subconscious—enter into the situation. Wait in an expectant attitude. Slowly an intimation will make itself felt. Do not rely upon voices. There are voices and voices: there is the voice of the ego, there is the voice or voices of the adversary. The psychic communicates mostly in the form of a feeling, feeling that is authentic or breathes certitude. Follow it. Do not make the mistake of overriding it after asking for it. If you do so, you are shutting the doors on the sanctum.
You will see that the whole process involves a severe discipline, not an outer set of rules and regulations but a compulsive inner dynamic law.
Many are the Pseudo-guidances from the subtler forms of ego, the cunning vital, that try to deflect you from the Path. Man’s capacity to deceive himself is proverbially endless. Impose on yourself this sure discipline from within. Rectitude, straight-forwardness, integrity, basic honesty, humility are some of the cardinal requirements for progress in this Path. There might be some social virtues which are relevant only to the conditions of the society that called them forth and they may not have a role to play in your spiritual life. But these are fundamental values based upon eternal truths and they rule for all time. A big demand? What else do you expect if you want to follow Sri Aurobindo’s great declaration, mahavakya, “All life is yoga”?