© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Human sorrow

26 May 1954

[...] It is from a state of deep compassion that the Divine acts in Matter and this deep compassion is translated in Matter precisely by this psychic sorrow which is spoken about here. [Note: "Q: Nowadays I feel very intensely a sorrow which brings a flow of tears in my eyes. There is no unrest or disturbance in it, rather there is a feeling of calm and purity and a deep gravity associated with it. Is this what is called the psychic sorrow? A: Yes, there is a psychic sorrow of that kind--but psychic tears need not be sorrowful, there are also tears of emotion and joy."] We read that this evening. That is as though something were reversed, it is the same thing but reversed in this way (Mother joins her hands and then opens them as in an offering.)

Well, the Divine's state of compassion is translated in the psychic consciousness by a sorrow that is not egoistic, a sorrow that is the expression of the identification through sympathy with universal sorrow. In the Prayers and Meditations I have said this (in one of the later ones), I have described at length an experience in which way I say, "I wept... the sweetest tears of my life", [Note: Prayers and Meditations, 12 July 1918.] because it was not over myself that I wept, you understand. Well, that is it. You know, human beings always suffer because of egoistic causes, humanly. Even when, for instance (I have explained this often), they lose someone they loved, and suffer and weep, it is not over the state of that person they weep, for most of the time, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they do not know the state of the person, they cannot even know whether that person is happy or unhappy, whether he is suffering or in peace, but it is over the sense of separation they themselves experience, because they loved to have that person near them and he has gone. So, always at the root of human sorrow there is [new p. 145]a [old p. 145]turning back upon oneself, more or less conscious, more or less--how to put it?--acknowledged, but it is always that. Even when one weeps over another's misery, there is always a mixture. There is a mixture, but as soon as the psychic gets mingled in the sorrow, there is an element of "reversed compassion" (that's what I was trying to explain a moment ago) which comes into the being and, if one can disentangle the two, concentrate upon that, come out of one's ego and unite with this reversed compassion, through this one can come into contact with the great universal Compassion which is something immense, vast, calm, powerful, deep, full of perfect peace and an infinite sweetness. And this is what I mean when I say that if one just knows how to deepen one's sorrow, go right to its very heart, rise beyond the egoistic and personal part and go deeper, one can open the door of a great revelation. That does not mean that you must seek sorrow for sorrow's sake, but when it is there, when it comes upon you, always if you can manage to rise above the egoism of your sorrow--seeing first which is the egoistic part, what it is that makes you suffer, what the egoistic cause of your suffering is, and then rising above that and going beyond, towards something universal, towards a deep fundamental truth, then you enter that infinite Compassion, and there, truly it is a psychic door that opens. So, if someone sees me shedding tears, if at that moment one tries to unite completely--you understand, to enter into these tears, melt in them--this can open the door. One can open the door and have the full experience, a very exceptional experience, which leaves a very deep mark upon your consciousness. Usually it is never effaced. But if the door closes again, if once again you become what you are in your ordinary movements, that still remains somewhere behind and you can go back to it in moments of intense concentration; you can go back to it and you feel once again that immensity of an infinite sweetness, a great peace, which... understands everything but not intellectually, which has compassion for all things, which can [old p. 146]embrace all things and so heal all things. [new p. 146]

Naturally, it is always the same thing: one must... must sincerely want to be healed, for otherwise it does not work. If one wants to have the experience solely for the experience's sake and then the next minute one returns to what one was before, this does not work. But if sincerely one wants to be healed, if one has a real aspiration to overcome the obstacle, to rise--rise above oneself, to give up all that pulls one back, to break the limits, become clear, purify oneself of all that blocks the way, if truly one has the intense will not to fall back into past errors, to surge up from the darkness and ignorance, to rise into the light, stripped of all that is too human, too small, too ignorant--then that works. It works, works powerfully. At times it works definitively and totally. But there must be nothing that clings to the old movements, keeps quiet at the moment, hides itself, and then later shows its face and says, "Yes, yes, it is very fine, your experience, but now it is my turn!" Then, when that happens, I do not answer for anything, because sometimes, as a reaction it becomes worse. That is why I always come back to the same thing, say always the same thing: one must be truly sincere, truly.

One must be ready, if there is something which is clinging, clinging tightly, one must be ready to tear it away completely, without its leaving any trace behind. This is why at times one makes the same mistake and repeats it, until the suffering is sufficiently great to impose a total sincerity. One must not try that method, it is bad. It is bad because it destroys many things, it wastes much energy, spreads bad vibrations. But if one can't do otherwise, well, in the intensity of suffering one can find the will for perfect sincerity.

And there is a moment--in everyone's life there is a moment--when this need for perfect sincerity comes as a definitive choice. There is a moment in one's individual life, also a moment in the collective life when one belongs to a group, a moment when the choice must be made, when the purification [old p. 147] must be done. Sometimes this becomes very serious, it is almost [new p. 147]a question of life and death for the group: it must make a decisive progress... if it wants to survive.


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