Archive for August 2007
In Volume III of Sri Aurobindo’s Letters to disciples, he has a whole section dedicated to Difficulties of the Path, and a related one entitled Opposition of the Hostile Forces.
The former chapter begins with a letter that reads, “All who enter the spiritual path have to face the difficulties and ordeals of the path, those which rise from their own nature and those which come in from the outside. The difficulties in the nature always rise again and again till you overcome them; they must be faced with strength and patience. But the vital [emotional] part is prone to depression when ordeals and difficulties rise. This is not particular to you, but comes to all sadhaks [practitioners of yoga].”
In another letter he speaks of “the resistance of the Universal Nature which does not want the being to escape from the Ignorance into the Light. This may take the form of a vehement insistence in the continuation of the old movements, waves of them thrown on the mind and vital and body so that old ideas, impulses, desires, feelings, responses continue even after they are thrown out and rejected, and can return like an invading army from the outside…” (By the way, one encounters the same sort of “internal saboteurs” in psychotherapy, only from a different level.)
Anyway, let’s hear some honest and creative responses to this dilemma, and perhaps some testimonials as to how you made it through your own Time of Darkness. Feel free to post anonymously if it’s too personal.
Whether men love or hate, admire or despise you, is of but little moment. Speak only what is true, do only what is right
Posted August 21, 2007on:
Jean Jacques Rousseau:
Profession of Faith of a Savoyard Vicar, 1782
Thus, my young friend, have I given you with my own lips a recital of my creed, such as the Supreme Being reads it in my heart. You are the first person to whom I have made this Profession of Faith; and you are the only one, probably, to whom I shall ever make it.
If I were more positive in myself, I should have assumed a more positive and dogmatic air; but I am a man ignorant and subject to error. I have opened to you my heart without reserve. What I have thought certain, I have given you as such. My doubts I have declared as doubts; my opinions as opinions; and I have honestly given you my reasons for both. What can I do more? It remains now for you to judge. Be sincere with yourself. Whether men love or hate, admire or despise you, is of but little moment. Speak only what is true, do only what is right; for, after all, the object of greatest importance is to faithfully discharge our duty. Adopt only those of my sentiments which you believe are true, and reject all the others; and whatever religion you may ultimately embrace, remember that its real duties are independent of human institutions – that no religion upon earth can dispense with the sacred obligations of morality – that an upright heart is the temple of the Divinity – and that, in every country and in every sect, to love God above all things, and thy neighbor as thyself, is the substance and summary of the law – the end and aim of religious duty. Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
The most beautiful and convincing defense of man’s religious instincts ever to flow from a modern pen
Posted August 21, 2007on:
The Politics of God
By MARK LILLA The Times Magazine: August 19, 2007
Rousseau wrote no treatise on religion, which was probably a wise thing, since when he inserted a few pages on religious themes into his masterpiece, “Émile” (1762), it caused the book to be burned and Rousseau to spend the rest of his life on the run. This short section of “Émile,” which he called “The Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar,” has so deeply shaped contemporary views of religion that it takes some effort to understand why Rousseau was persecuted for writing it. It is the most beautiful and convincing defense of man’s religious instincts ever to flow from a modern pen — and that, apparently, was the problem. Rousseau spoke of religion in terms of human needs, not divine truths, and had his Savoyard vicar declare, “I believe all particular religions are good when one serves God usefully in them.” For that, he was hounded by pious Christians.