© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Wisdom of equanimity

20 May 1953

You must establish this will to be conscious constantly and then change the mental will into an aspiration. You must have this movement. And then never to forget. You must look, look at yourself, and look at your life with the sincerity not to make a mistake, never to deceive yourself. Oh! how difficult it is!

Did you ever have spontaneously--spontaneously without effort--the perception that you had made a mistake? I am not speaking of an external reaction that gives you a knock, wakes you up suddenly and you say: "Oh my God, what have I done?" I am not speaking of that. When you do a thing, feel a thing, when you say a thing--take simply the petty quarrels [old p. 65]like those I hear about at least a dozen of them a day (at least), idiotic, (I [new p. 64]wonder how, having one's reason, one can quarrel about such things), well, at the time you utter those words that should not be uttered, that are simply silly, do you see that you are truly stupid--not to say anything worse--spontaneously?... You always give an excuse. You have always the feeling that the other person is wrong, and that you are right and that, indeed, he must be told that he is wrong, yes? Otherwise he would never know it! Isn't that so? I am putting the thing rather glaringly, as though under a small microscope, so that it may look a little bigger. But it is like that. And so long as it is like that, you are a million miles away from the true consciousness. When you are unable immediately, instantaneously to step back, put yourself in the place of the other person, understand why he has this feeling, have a glimpse of your own weakness, compare the two and come to the conclusion: "Well, it is that, that's the true thing", it means that you are still very far behind. When you are able to do it spontaneously, instantaneously, when it does not take time, when it is a natural movement, then you may feel satisfied that you have made a little progress.... How many times do you have the experience during the day? Even if you do not come to an open quarrel, how many times is the reaction there in the head, there, something that leaps up in the head, instead of this wisdom of equanimity which, at the very moment things are happening and it is observing them, understands how they are happening and why all this occurs--and that impersonally enough to be able to smile always and never have a violent reaction, never.

And even if you perceive the Truth, which is far beyond and far above, and the Truth that is not realised and you want to realise, if you have its clear vision and can see constantly the difference between what is true and what should be and what is false and deformed and must give place to the other, see it so clearly, there is no reaction any longer, and even things that seem to you most stupid, most idiotic, most obscure, most ignorant, [old p. 66]most vulgar, most crude can make you smile, for you are able [new p. 65]to see the whole length of the way you have to cover so that That which is up there may come down here. And if you had had violent reactions, long ago there would have been no world any more. Because, in truth, if the world could exist only on condition of its being true, then long ago it would have ceased to exist! For it has never been true even to this very day.

But if you remain in that consciousness and look from there, then you begin to understand something of the truth. And this consciousness has to be so total, that even if things come directly against you, even the physical movement of someone coming to beat you (you must not allow him to kill you, no; you have perhaps to do what is necessary not to get killed), but if you are yourself in this perfect consciousness and have no personal reaction, well, I give you the guarantee the other cannot kill you. He will not be able to, even if he tries. He will not be able to beat you, even if he tries. Only, you must not have a single violent or wrong vibration, you understand? Even if there is just a little false vibration, that opens the door and the thing enters and all goes wrong. You must be fully conscious, have the full knowledge, the perfect mastery over everything, the clear vision of the Truth--and perfect peace.

You must make an effort all the time.