October 20, 2005

In Praise of Patience

S. M. Dyne
Of all the virtues, Patience is the most self-effacing. She is the shy child who stands quietly at the back of the school line, while her more boisterous companions elbow their way to the front. She is the musician who practises tirelessly to achieve perfection, not counting the hours spent; she is the nurse who watches at the bedside of a sick person who may at any moment awake and need her care. Patience, like gratitude, is a modest virtue whose value is often down -graded or ignored -but not by Sri Aurobindo, and not by the Mother, who sometimes wore a little bracelet of ‘Patience’ flowers around her wrist. On the contrary, Sri Aurobindo speaks of patience as one of the essential qualities needed by those who follow the path of Integral Yoga. He even ranks patience with faith and courage in the hierarchy of the virtues.
The progressive surrender that alone can bring us to the goal of the Integral yoga is not the work of a moment. We cannot surrender what is not ours, and the truth is, very few of as are even aware of the different planes and parts of our being, which lie like vast unknown and unexplored territories above, behind and below the surface personality that we recognise and call our own. In Savitri, Aswapathy’s surrender to the Divine Mother is the culmination of a long and arduous conquest of all the possibilities of human nature, mental, vital and physical, as they are manifested in the material world and also in the subtle worlds normally hidden from our sight. All these he is able to surrender because he has first taken possession of them. The work of taking possession of our whole self, in order to surrender it, is indeed the patient labour of a lifetime.
Without the grace of Maha-Saraswati success would not be possible, for She, as Sri Aurobindo has described Her in his book The Mother, is the most patient of all the divine powers with human frailty. Patience is her most precious gift to us, if we only knew it, because through patience we are able to make use of the one of the ‘four aids’ described by Sri Aurobindo in his Synthesis of Yoga.

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