© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

True submission

17 March 1954

Last time, in the text it was said: "They [those who have faith in a God, their God] belong to him integrally; all the events of their lives are an expression of the divine will and they accept them not merely with calm submission but with gratitude, for they are convinced that whatever happens to them is always for their own good."

What is the difference between a calm and a grateful submission?

A calm and a grateful submission?... When you receive an order, you may carry it out with resignation because you [new p. 64]have [old p. 64]resolved to submit; so you carry out this order without any joy or pleasure, just very drily and superficially, and you tell yourself, "I was told to do this and I am doing it." This means that you do not try to understand and make no effort to adhere willingly to what is asked. This is resigned submission. You accept your fate and if you do not complain it is because you have determined not to complain, it is because of this determination, otherwise you would complain.

The other instance is of understanding why an order was given, of grasping its inner value and wanting to express what has been asked with all one's strength, with the knowledge and joy that it is something, perforce, that's bound to bring the Divine closer and give you full satisfaction. Then you are happy, you are satisfied and you collaborate. That makes quite a considerable difference.

In a calm submission, doesn't one feel happy?

Usually one is very proud of oneself! One becomes vain, tells oneself that one is doing something remarkable. One doesn't question, doesn't try to understand: one obeys, and besides is resigned. One doesn't even ask oneself if it is good or not: one is too superior! One is puffed up with pride. There are many people of this kind here.

So it is not a true submission, is it?

I think the other one is better. At least here one has the satisfaction of understanding why he does things; one does them with joy and feels strengthened through the very fact of doing them, while in the first instance one bends the head lower and lower and feels as though one were a poor victim of some despotic authority crushing one with its omnipotence.