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What is Compassion?

Compassion is the equivalent of miséricorde [mercy]. It is a pity full of strength and kindness, a pity that pardons and makes amends, forgets all offences and wants always what is best for everyone. [1]


...the state of perfect, integral, universal love, which is the very essence of compassion and the most perfect expression of the Grace which wipes out the consequences of all error and all ignorance. [2]


Compassion is something different. It comes from Above. It is a state of sympathy for the suffering of man and the suffering that is on earth and there is an idea of helping it as far as one can, whenever one can in his own way. It is not like pity. It is like the Gods who look upon human suffering from above, unmoved. That compassion can also destroy and it destroys with compassion, – Daya, – as Durga does the Rakshasas, the hostile beings. There can be no pity there. Many times the Rakshasa may come and ask you to save him, he may even ask you to transform him...If you try that, all the power goes to the Rakshasa and you may become powerless. When these vital beings incarnate in men then the compassion would not prevent you from killing them. [AB Purani, Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo][3]

A Virtue of Psychic Being

It must be said that all those beings who have never had an earthly existence—gods or demons, invisible beings and powers—do not possess what the Divine has put into man: the psychic being. And this psychic being gives to man true love, charity, compassion, a deep kindness, which compensate for all his external defects. [4]


Love, compassion, kindness, bhakti, Ananda are the nature of the psychic being, because the psychic being is formed from the Divine Consciousness, it is the divine part within you. But the lower parts are not yet accustomed to obey or value the influence and control of the psychic for in men the vital and physical are accustomed to act for themselves and do not care for what the soul wants. When they do care and obey the psychic, that is their conversion—they begin to put on themselves the psychic or divine nature. [5]

Divine Compassion

And it is quite evident that with the amplitude and totality of the vision, there comes something which is a compassion that understands—not that pity of the superior for the inferior: the true divine Compassion, which is the total comprehension that each one is what he must be. [6]


According to the law of man the guilty ought to be punished. But there is a law more imperative than the human law. It is the Divine law, the law of compassion and mercy. [7]


The divine compassion reaches out not only to the one who is eaten but also to the one who eats, not only to the one who is tortured but also the one who tortures. [8]


Human pity is born of ignorance and weakness; it is the slave of emotional impressions. Divine compassion understands, discerns and saves. [9]


But then, when that true Compassion of divine Love comes and you see all those things that look so horrible, so abnormal, so absurd, that great pain over all beings and even over things… Then there was born in this physical being the aspiration to relieve, to cure, to make all that disappear. There is something in Love in its Origin that is constantly expressed by the intervention of the Grace; a force, a sweetness, something like a vibration of solace, spread everywhere, but which an enlightened consciousness can direct, concentrate on certain points. And that’s just where I saw the true use one could make of thought: thought is used as a channel to carry the vibration from place to place, wherever it’s necessary. This force, this vibration of sweetness is there over the world in a static way, pressing to be received, but it’s an impersonal action, and thought—enlightened thought, surrendered thought, the thought that is nothing more than an instrument, that no longer tries to set things in motion, that is satisfied with being moved by the higher Consciousness—thought is used as an intermediary to make contact, to build a connection and allow this impersonal Force to act wherever it’s necessary, on precise points. [10]


...[inmost being] accepts a spiritual compassion for this ignorant human and animal world and its peoples, the joy and happiness and satisfaction of beauty that comes from the perception of the Divine everywhere. It plunges the nature inward towards its meeting with the immanent Divine in the heart's secret centre and, while that call is there, no reproach of egoism, no mere outward summons of altruism or duty or philanthropy or service will deceive or divert it from its sacred longing and its obedience to the attraction of the Divinity within it. It lifts the being towards a transcendent Ecstasy and is ready to shed all the downward pull of the world from its wings in its uprising to reach the One Highest; but it calls down also this transcendent Love and Beatitude to deliver and transform this world of hatred and strife and division and darkness and jarring Ignorance. It opens to a universal Divine Love, a vast compassion, an intense and immense will for the good of all, for the embrace of the World-Mother enveloping or gathering to her children, the divine Passion that has plunged into the night for the redemption of the world from the universal Inconscience. It is not attracted or misled by mental imitations or any vital misuse of these great deep-seated Truths of existence; it exposes them with its detecting search-ray and calls down the entire truth of Divine Love to heal these malformations, to deliver mental, vital, physical love from their insufficiencies or their perversions and reveal to them their true abounding share of the intimacy and the oneness, the ascending ecstasy and the descending rapture. [11]


There is too a suprarational truth formulating itself in spiritual experience which can observe the play of universal possibility, accept all impartially as the true and natural features and consequences of a world of ignorance and inconscience or admit all with calm and compassion as a part of the divine working, but, while it awaits the awakening of a higher consciousness and knowledge as the sole escape from what presents itself as evil, is ready with help and intervention where that is truly helpful and possible. [12]


I saw and felt this Compassion working through the meshes of the net, and how the Grace is all-powerful, meaning that the “Law” isn’t an obstacle any longer. I saw this Compassion touching everyone and giving everyone their chance; I understood what he really meant when he said that it “gives everyone their chance”—equally, without the slightest distinction of importance or condition or anything, or of state: exactly the same chance to all. So then, the result of this Compassion was to awaken them to the existence of the Grace, to make them feel that there is in the universe something like the Grace. And with those who aspire and have trust, the Grace acts immediately—it always acts, but with those who have trust it becomes fully effective. All this was so clear, so precise! It really was like a new experience, a revelation. And how Sri Aurobindo was the expression of this Compassion…. It could be seen in his eyes, of course, his eyes were full of Compassion.[13]


A state of Grace is prepared in the individual often behind thick veils by means not calculable by the mind and when the state of Grace comes then the Grace itself acts. There are these three powers: (1) the Cosmic Law of Karma or what else; (2) the Divine Compassion acting on as many as it can reach through the nets of the Law and giving them their chance; and (3) the Divine Grace which acts more incalculably but also more irresistibly than the others. The only question is whether there is something behind all the anomalies of life which can respond to the call and open itself with whatever difficulty till it is ready for the illumination of the Divine Grace—and that something must be not a mental and vital movement but an inner somewhat which can well be seen by the inner eye. If it is there and when it becomes active in front, then the Compassion can act, though the full action of the Grace may still wait attending the decisive decision or change; for this may be postponed to a future hour, because some portion or element of the being may still come between, something that is not yet ready to receive. [14]

Divine Disgust

It is a disgust that is full of total compassion. It is something that takes upon itself the bad vibration in order to cure others of it. The consequences of a wrong and low movement—instead of throwing it back with cold justice upon the one who has committed the mistake, it absorbs it, in order to transform it within itself, and diminishes as far as possible the material consequences of the fault committed. … the old story about Shiva who had a black stain on his neck because he had swallowed all that was bad in the world, is an imaginative way of expressing this divine disgust. It made a black stain on his neck. [15]


It is from a state of deep compassion that the Divine acts in Matter and this deep compassion is translated in Matter precisely by the psychic sorrow.

...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... [16]


...initial cause is the pain of separation created by the is the suffering that comes from divine compassion, the suffering of love that feels compassion for the world's misery, whatever its origin, cause or effect. But this suffering, which is of a purely psychic character, contains no egoism, no self-pity; it is full of peace and strength and power of action, of faith in the future and the will for victory; it does not pity but consoles, it does not identify itself with the ignorant movement in others but cures and illumines it.

It is obvious that in the purity of its essence, only that which is perfectly divine can feel the suffering; but partially, momentarily, like flashes of lightning behind the dark clouds of egoism, it appears in all who have a vast and generous heart. However, most often, in the individual consciousness it is mixed with that mean and petty self-pity which is the cause of depression and weakness. Nevertheless, when one is vigilant enough to refuse this mixture or at least to reduce it to a minimum, one soon realises that this divine compassion is based on a sublime and eternal joy which alone has the strength and the power to deliver the world from its ignorance and misery. [17]

Why is Compassion Needed?

The compassion seeks to relieve the suffering of all, whether they deserve it or not. [18]


When you are a being of justice, truth, harmony, compassion, understanding, of perfect goodwill, this inner attitude, the more sincere and total it is, the more it reacts upon the external circumstances; not that it necessarily diminishes the difficulties of life, but it gives these difficulties a new meaning and that allows you to face them with a new strength and a new wisdom; whereas the man, the human being who follows his impulses, who obeys his desires, who has no time for scruples, who comes to live in complete cynicism, not caring for the effect that his life has upon others or for the more or less harmful consequences of his acts, creates for himself an atmosphere of ugliness, selfishness, conflict and bad will which necessarily acts more and more upon his consciousness and gives a bitterness to his life that in the end becomes a perpetual torment. [19]

How to Cultivate Compassion?

You know, human beings always suffer because of egoistic causes, humanly. Even when, for instance... 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 a 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 sorrow, there is an element of "reversed compassion"...which comes into 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 remain 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 embrace all things and so heal all things. [20]


Compassion is an essential psychic virtue. It appears in the consciousness only when the psychic being takes part in active life… It is only when the psychic consciousness is all-powerful in the being that compassion for all that needs help, in whatever domain, and gratitude for all that manifests the divine presence and grace, in whatever form, are expressed in all their original and luminous purity, without mixing compassion with any trace of condescension or gratitude with any sense of inferiority. [21]

Compassion and Its Practice

By Transcending Pity

There is a point where all the virtues are united: it is a point that goes beyond the ego. If we take this faithfulness, if we take devotion, take love, the meaning of service, all these things, when they are above the egoistic level, they meet, in the see that they give themselves and do not expect anything in exchange. And if you climb one step higher, instead of its being done with the idea of duty and abnegation, it is done with an intense joy which carries within itself its own reward, which needs nothing in exchange, for it carries its joy in itself. But then, for that you must have climbed quite high and must no longer have that turning back upon yourself which, of all things, pulls you down lowest. That kind of... that sympathy, full of self-pity, wherein one cajoles and caresses oneself and says, "Poor me!", that, indeed, is something terrible, and one does this so constantly, without being aware of it. This turning back upon oneself, a kind of degrading self-compassion, in which one tells oneself in a tone so full of pity, "Nobody understands me! No one loves me! No one cares for me as people should!" etc., and one goes on and on.... And now this is really terrible, it draws you down into a hole immediately. [22]


Sri Aurobindo always reminds us of the fact that the Divine is everywhere and in everything, and asks us to practise a true compassion, as is so beautifully expressed in this aphorism,"Examine thyself without pity, then thou wilt be more charitable and pitiful to others." [23]


Self-pity is always born of self-love; but pity for others is not always born of love for its object. It is sometimes a self-regarding shrinking from the sight of pain; sometimes the rich man's contemptuous dole to the pauper. Develop rather God's divine compassion than human pity.

Not pity that bites the heart and weakens the inner members, but a divine masterful and untroubled compassion and helpfulness is the virtue that we should encourage. [24]


The passion of pity with its impure elements of physical repulsion and emotional inability to bear the suffering of others has to be rejected and replaced by the higher divine compassion which sees, understands, accepts the burden of others and is strong to help and heal, not with self-will and revolt against the suffering in the world and with ignorant accusation of the law of things and their source, but with light and knowledge and as an instrument of the Divine in its emergence. [25]

By Oneness our spiritual growth we can become one self with all beings, know them as part of our self, deal with them as if they were our other selves; for then the division is healed, the law of separate self-affirmation leading by itself to affirmation against or at the expense of others is enlarged and liberated by adding to it the law of our self-affirmation for others and our self-finding in their self-finding and self-realisation. It has been made a rule of religious ethics to act in a spirit of universal compassion, to love one's neighbour as oneself, to do to others as one would have them do to us, to feel the joy and grief of others as one's own; but no man living in his ego is able truly and perfectly to do these things, he can only accept them as a demand of his mind, an aspiration of his heart, an effort of his will to live by a high standard and modify by a sincere endeavour his crude ego-nature. It is when others are known and felt intimately as oneself that this ideal can become a natural and spontaneous rule of our living and be realised in practice as in principle. But even oneness with others is not enough by itself, if it is a oneness with their ignorance; for then the law of ignorance will work and error of action and wrong action will survive even if diminished in degree and mellowed in incidence and character. Our oneness with others must be fundamental, not a oneness with their minds, hearts, vital selves, egos,—even though these come to be included in our universalised consciousness,—but a oneness in the soul and spirit, and that can only come by our liberation into soul-awareness and self-knowledge. To be ourselves liberated from ego and realise our true selves is the first necessity; all else can be achieved as a luminous result, a necessary consequence. That is one reason why a spiritual call must be accepted as imperative and take precedence over all other claims, intellectual, ethical, social, that belong to the domain of the Ignorance. [26]

Compassion Towards Animals

Q. In our yoga, what attitude should we take towards animals?

A: One can have the true attitude only when one has attained the consciousness of the divine Oneness; meanwhile it is good always to treat animals with respect, love and compassion. [27]


No wonder that Ojas [A bullock] gave some trouble. These bullocks are quite intelligent enough to feel the change of people. This new man is not an expert and moreover he has something of a brute around him. You will have to look carefully after him, for I do not like his way of dealing with the bullocks. I object strongly to his way of twisting the tails of the beasts. If somebody twisted one of his limbs like that, what would he say? And I am pretty sure that our bullocks are more sensitive than he is. [28]


“You don’t know the first thing about animals! Happily you have a peaceful nature, but animals are extremely sensitive to our feelings or sentiments: if you are afraid, they instantly get afraid; if you are angry, they instantly get angry; and if you are gentle, kind, affable, they become gentle, kind, affable.” [29]

Experience of Compassion

...if one has a certain experience of a particular kind—as one may have an experience of peace, an experience of calm, one may also have an experience of perfect benevolence, an experience of understanding or of compassion—the thing, the experience is as though the consciousness were possessed by one of these movements; and so there occurs this thing which seems strange afterwards, but which for the moment is altogether natural—one feels everywhere, in everyone, in the whole atmosphere, all around himself and, if the consciousness is vast enough, in the entire earth, exactly the same peace or the same compassion or the same benevolence. And so one can say in all sincerity, with a completely living experience: "The universe is perfect benevolence."

If you come out of it, naturally this does not apply any longer. But while you are in the experience, it is altogether true—at that time. And then, if you push this, these experiences, farther (and this is exactly what happen to people who try to identify themselves consciously with the Divine), when you attain this identification and have the consciousness of the Divine in you, instantly you feel that the Divine is everything and everywhere, in all things, that there is nothing but the Divine. And people who have had this experience have said this, they have said, "But there is only the Divine, all is Divine, the Divine alone exists." Yet, when one comes out of the experience, if he continues to say it, he almost tells a lie, in the see that this no longer corresponds at all to the state of consciousness he is in. [30]

Limitation on the Path to Compassion

As always, the mind, when insufficiently educated, is the accomplice of the vital being and the slave of the physical nature, whose laws, so overpowering in their half-conscious mechanism, it does not fully understand. When the mind awakens to the awareness of the first psychic movements, it distorts them in its ignorance and changes compassion into pity or at best into charity, and gratitude into the wish to repay, followed, little by little, by the capacity to recognise and admire. [31]

Compassion Through Various Viewpoints

The Greeks had a keen and exceptional sense of beauty, of eurythmy, of harmony in forms and things. But at the same time they had an equally keen sense of men's impotence in the face of an implacable Fate which none could escape. They were haunted by the inflexibility of this Fate, and even their gods seem to have been subject to it. In their mythology and in their legends, one finds little trace of the divine compassion and grace.

This notion of compassion and grace made its appearance in Europe later with the Christian religion—whereas in Asia and especially in India it had long before been the very essence of Buddha's teaching. [32]


Reading certain things can be good for Europeans who have a rather thick skin, to arouse in them a feeling of true compassion; but here in India it is not necessary. And it is not good to give an even darker picture of a life that is already dark enough in itself. [33]

Buddha’s Compassion

At the other extreme of consciousness stands the Buddha with his pure and sublime compassion. For him the suffering arising out of life could be abolished by the abolition of life; for life and the world are the outcome of the desire to be, the fruit of ignorance. Abolish desire, eliminate ignorance, and the world will disappear and with it all suffering and misery. In a great effort of spiritual aspiration and silent concentration he elaborated his discipline, one of the most uplifting and the most effective disciplines ever given to those who are eager for liberation. [34]


… he manifested something of the power of Shiva: it was the same compassion, the same understanding of all the misery, and the same power which destroys—obviously with the intention of transforming, but destroys rather than constructs. His work does not seem to have been very constructive. It was very necessary to teach men practically not to be egoistic; from that point of view it was very necessary. But in its deeper principle it has not helped very much in the transformation of the earth. [35]


"The service of mankind" sounds like a very modern and European conception; it reminds me of some European interpretations of the Gita as merely teaching the disinterested performance of duty or the pronouncement that the whole idea of the Gita is service. The exclusive stress or overstress on mankind or humanity is also European. Mahayanist Buddhism laid stress on compassion, fellow-feeling with all, vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam, just as the Gita speaks of the feeling of oneness with all beings and preoccupation with the good of all beings, sarvabhūtahite ratāḥ, but this does not mean humanity only but all beings and vasudhā means all earth-life. [36]

Compassion in the Gita

...the teaching of the Gita springs from an Indian creed and to the Indian mind compassion has always figured as one of the largest elements of the divine nature. The Teacher himself enumerating...the qualities of the godlike nature in man places among them compassion to creatures, gentleness, freedom from wrath and from the desire to slay and do hurt, no less than fearlessness and high spirit and energy. Harshness and hardness and fierceness and a satisfaction in slaying enemies and amassing wealth and unjust enjoyments are Asuric qualities; they come from the violent Titanic nature which denies the Divine in the world and the Divine in man and worships Desire only as its deity. [37]


There is a divine compassion which descends to us from on high and for the man whose nature does not possess it, is not cast in its mould, to pretend to be the superior man, the master-man or the superman is a folly and an insolence, for he alone is the superman who most manifests the highest nature of the Godhead in humanity. This compassion observes with an eye of love and wisdom and calm strength the battle and the struggle, the strength and weakness of man, his virtues and sins, his joy and suffering, his knowledge and his ignorance, his wisdom and his folly, his aspiration and his failure and it enters into it all to help and to heal. In the saint and philanthropist it may cast itself into the mould of a plenitude of love or charity; in the thinker and hero it assumes the largeness and the force of a helpful wisdom and strength. It is this compassion in the Aryan fighter, the soul of his chivalry, which will not break the bruised reed, but helps and protects the weak and the oppressed and the wounded and the fallen. But it is also the divine compassion that smites down the strong tyrant and the confident oppressor, not in wrath and with hatred,—for these are not the high divine qualities, the wrath of God against the sinner, God's hatred of the wicked are the fables of half-enlightened creeds, as much a fable as the eternal torture of the Hells they have invented,—but, as the old Indian spirituality clearly saw, with as much love and compassion for the strong Titan erring by his strength and slain for his sins as for the sufferer and the oppressed who have to be saved from his violence and injustice.

But such is not the compassion which actuates Arjuna in the rejection of his work and mission. That is not compassion but an impotence full of a weak self-pity, a recoil from the mental suffering which his act must entail on himself,—"I see not what shall thrust from me the sorrow that dries up the senses",—and of all things self-pity is among the most ignoble and un-Aryan of moods. Its pity for others is also a form of self-indulgence; it is the physical shrinking of the nerves from the act of slaughter, the egoistic emotional shrinking of the heart from the destruction of the Dhritarashtrians because they are "one's own people" and without them life will be empty. This pity is a weakness of the mind and senses,—a weakness which may well be beneficial to men of a lower grade of development, who have to be weak because otherwise they will be hard and cruel; for they have to cure the harsher by the gentler forms of sensational egoism, they have to call in Tamas, the debile principle, to help Sattwa, the principle of light, in quelling the strength and excess of their rajasic passions. But this way is not for the developed Aryan man who has to grow not by weakness, but by an ascension from strength to strength. Arjuna is the divine man, the master-man in the making and as such he has been chosen by the gods. [38]

Compassion in People Today

If one considers the life and action and heart of men as they are, one would have every right to be surprised at all the hatred, contempt, or at best, the indifference which are returned for this immensity of Love which the divine Grace pours upon the world, for this immensity of Love which acts upon the world at every second to lead it towards the divine delight and which finds so poor a response in the human heart. But people have compassion only for the wicked, the deficient, the misshapen, for the unsuccessful ones and the failures—truly it is an encouragement to wickedness and failure.

If one thought a little more of this aspect of the problem, perhaps one would have less need to insist on the necessity of returning love for hatred, because if the human heart responded in all sincerity to the Love that is being poured into it with the spontaneous gratitude of a love which understands and appreciates, then things would change quickly in the world. [39]

Compassion in Superhuman

…it may be useful to say what the superman will certainly not be, so as to clear away certain misunderstandings. For example, I have read somewhere that the superhuman race would be fundamentally cruel and insensitive; since it is above suffering, it will attach no importance to the suffering of others and will take it as a sign of their imperfection and inferiority. No doubt, those who think in this way are judging the relations between superman and man from the manner in which man behaves towards his lesser brethren, the animals. But such behaviour, far from being a proof of superiority, is a sure sign of unconsciousness and stupidity. This is shown by the fact that as soon as man rises to a little higher level, he begins to feel compassion towards animals and seeks to improve their lot. Yet there is an element of truth in the conception of the unfeeling superman: it is this, that the higher race will not feel the kind of egoistic, weak and sentimental pity which men call charity. This pity, which does more harm than good, will be replaced by a strong and enlightened compassion whose only purpose will be to provide a true remedy to suffering, not to perpetuate it…

Until the superman can come in person to show man what his true nature is, it might be wise for every human being of goodwill to become conscious of what he can conceive as the most beautiful, the most noble, the truest and purest, the most luminous and best, and to aspire that this conception may be realised in himself for the greatest good of the world and men. [40]

More on Compassion

There are some rare individuals, born without a psychic being who are wicked; but they are very rare. For everyone there is always hope; even those who imagine that they are very strong in being wicked, even for them, there is a hope; it can awaken suddenly. But that's not what people think. What people think is; it's when you have no sentimental weakness and vital emotion that people tell you, "You have a dried up heart." But that's their opinion, it's not a truth. A dried up heart would be someone incapable of having any compassion; it is very rare. Even in people who had the reputation of being the most wicked there was always a small corner of their being open to compassion. At times it was ridiculously small, but it was there. [41]


With weakness and selfishness, however spiritual in their guise or trend, he[a sadhak of Integral Yoga] can have no dealings; a divine strength and courage and a divine compassion and helpfulness are the very stuff of that which he would be, they are that very nature of the Divine which he would take upon himself as a robe of spiritual light and beauty. [42]


Indeed, a great courage is necessary to go farther; this soul one discovers must be an intrepid warrior soul which does not at all rest satisfied with its own inner joy while comforting itself for the unhappiness of others with the idea that sooner or later everybody will reach that state and that it is good for others to make the same effort that one has made or, at best, that from this state of inner wisdom one can, with "great benevolence" and "deep compassion" help others to reach it, and that when everybody has attained it, well, that will be the end of the world and that's so much the better for those who don't like suffering! [43]


Indeed, you should choose as friends only those who are wiser than yourself, those whose company ennobles you and helps you to master yourself, to progress, to act in a better way and see more clearly. And finally, the best friend one can have—isn't he the Divine, to whom one can say everything, reveal everything? For there indeed is the source of all compassion, of all power to efface every error when it is not repeated,to open the road to true realisation; it is he who can understand all, heal all, and always help on the path, help you not to fail, not to falter, not to fall, but to walk straight to the goal. He is the true friend, the friend of good and bad days, the one who can understand, can heal, and who is always there when you need him. When you call him sincerely, he is always there to guide and uphold you—and to love you in the true way. [44]


Absence of love and fellow-feeling is not necessary for nearness to the Divine; on the contrary, a sense of closeness and oneness with others is a part of the divine consciousness into which the sadhak enters by nearness to the Divine and the feeling of oneness with the Divine. An entire rejection of all relations is indeed the final aim of the Mayavadin, and in the ascetic Yoga an entire loss of all relations of friendship and affection and attachment to the world and its living beings would be regarded as a promising sign of advance towards liberation, Moksha; but even there, I think, a feeling of oneness and unattached spiritual sympathy for all is at least a penultimate stage, like the compassion of the Buddhist, before turning to Moksha or Nirvana. In this Yoga the feeling of unity with others, love, universal joy and Ananda are an essential part of the liberation and perfection which are the aim of the sadhana. [45]


Whenever somebody is not just according to the usual pattern, if all the parts and activities in him have not the usual balance, if some faculties are more or less missing and some others are exaggerated, the common and easy habit is to declare him "abnormal" and to have done with him after this hasty condemnation. When this summary judgment is passed by somebody in a position of power the consequences can be disastrous. Such people ought to know what true compassion is, then they would act differently. [46]


Can there be any greater misfortune than to live without knowing the Supreme Lord? And yet this almost universal ill rarely excites any pity. Because one who knows that he is suffering from it, also knows that the cure depends on him alone—for the Lord's compassion is infinite. [Based on Aphorisms 529 and 530 - 529—Self-pity is always born of self-love; but pity for others is not always born of love for its object. It is sometimes a self-regarding shrinking from the sight of pain; sometimes the rich man's contemptuous dole to the pauper. Develop rather God's divine compassion than human pity. 530—Not pity that bites the heart and weakens the inner members, but a divine masterful and untroubled compassion and helpfulness is the virtue that we should encourage.] [47]


Sri Aurobindo's compassion is always there to help you, but some effort is needed from your side also. Two things you must never forget: Sri Aurobindo's compassion and the Mother's love, and it is with these two things that you will go on fighting steadily, patiently, until the enemies are definitively routed and the Victory is won for ever.


Read Summary of Compassion

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