© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Importance of sincerity

Sweet Mother, can it happen that a person is very insincere but unconscious of his insincerity?

I think in a case like this, he is no longer insincere, he is wicked; for if one knows that one is insincere and persists in one's insincerity, it is wickedness, isn't it? It means that one has bad intentions, otherwise why would one persist in one's insincerity?

I said: if one is unconscious.

Then how can one be conscious and unconscious at once? It is just this that is impossible. If one is conscious of one's insincerity, one can't be unconscious of it. It is impossible. The two can't exist simultaneously. [new p. 126]

But if one is insincere and doesn't know where this insincerity lies? [old p. 126]

Oh! One doesn't know?... That is because one is not sufficiently sincere and doesn't look at oneself. For, I guarantee this, if you are conscious that you are insincere, you know where it lies. Otherwise you could not be aware of your insincerity. For instance, in a certain circumstance one knows, knows that one should do this: "I should do this"; and at the same time one does not wish to do it, eh! And so, within oneself one finds a means, a sort of way of deceiving oneself and not doing it, because one does not want to do it--ah, that happens very often! (Laughter) And then, if at that moment, the moment when you are doing this little inner work to find an excuse for not doing what you don't want to do, if at that moment you become aware that you are insincere and still continue to do it, this means that you are perverse. If you ask me, this is what I call being wicked, bad. But if you realise that you are insincere, this means that you are conscious that you are insincere, and how can you say "I am not conscious of my insincerity"?... Ninety times out of a hundred one does it without knowing. That indeed is the misery. It is that one deceives oneself with such facility, finds good tricks for not doing what one doesn't want to do, or the contrary: for doing what one wishes to do when one knows very well one shouldn't do it--it is the same thing. So you give yourself good reasons, and, unhappily, as I said, most men are so unconscious that they do it without even realising it. They think they are very sincere: "No, sincerely, I thought I had to do it"--like that, quite innocently. But that's because they are not sincere, not at all because they are quite unconscious. But if one is just a little conscious of what is happening within, one perceives very well the little trick one has played and how one has found--has somewhere been so cleverly unearthing, an excellent excuse for doing what one wanted to do. Even when one knows very well one ought not to do it. It is these two, you see: a play between unconsciousness [new p. 127]and insincerity, insincerity and unconsciousness, in this way. But if you tell me, "I am conscious of my insincerity", then naturally at that moment this [old p. 127]fact faces you: Have you decided to remain in the darkness or do you want to progress? There, the problem comes up. If you are conscious of your insincerity, you have only one thing to do: that is to put a red-hot iron on it and make yourself sincere. That is the feeling. You must take a red-hot iron: it burns well, and then... ouch!... that's the way.

For a moment it hurts a little, afterwards one is left in peace.

Sweet Mother, you have written: "Sincerity is the key to the divine gates." What does that mean?

It is a literary image, my child, an imaged, figurative, literary way of expressing the fact that with sincerity one can attain everything, even the Divine. If one wants to open a door, a key is necessary, isn't it? Well, for the door separating you from the Divine, sincerity works as a key and opens the door and shows you in, that's all.


Fundamentally, whatever be the path one follows--whether the path of surrender, consecration, knowledge--if one wants it to be perfect, it is always equally difficult, and there is but one way, one only, I know of only one: that is perfect sincerity, but perfect sincerity!

Do you know what perfect sincerity is?...

Never to try to deceive oneself, never let any part of the being try to find out a way of convincing the others, never to explain favourably what one does in order to have an excuse for what one wants to do, never to close one's eyes when something [new p. 133]is unpleasant, never to let anything pass, telling oneself, "That [old p. 133]is not important, next time it will be better."

Oh! It is very difficult. Just try for one hour and you will see how very difficult it is. Only one hour, to be totally, absolutely sincere. To let nothing pass. That is, all one does, all one feels, all one thinks, all one wants, is exclusively the Divine.

"I want nothing but the Divine, I think of nothing but the Divine, I do nothing but what will lead me to the Divine, I love nothing but the Divine."

Try--try, just to see, try for half an hour, you will see how difficult it is! And during that time take great care that there isn't a part of the vital or a part of the mind or a part of the physical being nicely hidden there, at the back, so that you don't see it (Mother hides her hands behind her back) and don't notice that it is not collaborating--sitting quietly there so that you don't unearth it... it says nothing, but it does not change, it hides itself. How many such parts! How many parts hide themselves! You put them in your pocket because you don't want to see them or else they get behind your back and sit there well-hidden, right in the middle of your back, so as not to be seen. When you go there with your torch--your torch of sincerity--you ferret out all the corners, everywhere, all the small corners which do not consent, the things which say "No" or those which do not move: "I am not going to budge. I am glued to this place of mine and nothing will make me move."... You have a torch there with you, and you flash it upon the thing, upon everything. You will see there are many of them there, behind your back, well stuck.

Try, just for an hour, try!