January 25, 2006

The strength of stillness

In this calm, right knowledge comes. The thoughts of men are a tangle of truth and falsehood, satyam and anritam. True perception is marred and clouded by false perception, true judgment lamed by false judgment, true imagination distorted by false imagination, true memory deceived by false memory. The activity of the mind must cease, the chitta be purified, a silence fall upon the restlessness of Prakriti, then in that calm, in that voiceless stillness illumination comes upon the mind, error begins to fall away and, so long as desire does not stir again, clarity establishes itself in the higher stratum of the consciousness compelling peace and joy in the lower. Right knowledge becomes the infallible source of right action. Yogah karmasu kaushalam.
To be capable of silence, stillness, illuminated passivity is to be fit for immortality--amritatvaya kalpate. It is to be dhira, the ideal of our ancient civilisation, which does not mean to be tamasic, inert and a block. The inaction of the tamasic man is a stumbling-block to the energies around him, the inaction of the Yogin creates, preserves and destroys; his action is dynamic with the direct, stupendous driving-power of great natural forces. It is a stillness within often covered by a ripple of talk and activity without,--the ocean with its lively surface of waves. But even as men do not see the reality of God's workings from the superficial noise of the world and its passing events, for they are hidden beneath that cover, so also shall they fail to understand the action of the Yogin, for he is different within from what he is outside. The strength of noise and activity is, doubtless, great,--did not the walls of Jericho fall by the force of noise? But infinite is the strength of the stillness and the silence, in which great forces prepare for action.
-Sri Aurobindo This article was originally published in the Essay from the KARMAYOGIN (1909-1910) 19 February 1910 . It is currently in the public domain and reproduced here as per the international conventions on copyright laws for the benefit of our readers. Wednesday , January 25, 2006 Home Back to Aurobindo's Works

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