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What is Will Power / Will to progress

Will: power of consciousness turned towards effectuation. [1]


We reserved the word will to express what in the individual consciousness is the expression of an order or impulse coming from the truth of the being, from the truth of the individual—his true being, his true self, you understand. That we call will. [2]


Most people always put the little bit of will that's at their disposal at the service of their desires. But will is a force with a power of organisation and it can be put at the service of any purpose whatever. It is something that, when one has will-power, one has to a definite purpose. This is will. [3]


Power to reject adverse suggestions: the power which comes from the conscious union with the Divine. [4]


In the forehead between the eyes but a little above is the Ajnachakra, the centre of the inner will, also of the inner vision, the dynamic mind etc. (This is not the ordinary outer mental will and sight, but something more powerful, belonging to the inner being.) When this centre opens and the Force there is active, then there is the opening of a greater will, power of decision, formation, effectiveness beyond what the ordinary mind can achieve. [5]


Shakti, Will, Power is the driver of the worlds and, whether it be Knowledge-Force or Love-Force or Life-Force or Action-Force or Body-Force, is always spiritual in its origin and divine in its native character. [6]


Agni is the will for progress, the flame of purification that burns up all obstacles and difficulties. [7]


...this inner flame of aspiration is what you call the Divine; this inner flame of aspiration which never dies out, which always burns, burns more and more; what in India is called Agni, you know, the will to progress, the power of aspiration; this is what you call the Divine. It is an aspect of the Divine, that's true, but it is not the Divine. It is only one aspect, that is, a divine way of being. [8]


Man is able to use a reason and will, a self-observing, thinking and all-observing, an intelligently willing mind which is no longer involved in the sense-mind, but acts from above and behind it in its own right, with a certain separateness and freedom. He is reflective, has a certain relative freedom of intelligent will. He has liberated in himself and has formed into a separate power the buddhi. But what is this buddhi? From the point of view of Yogic knowledge we may say that it is that instrument of the soul, of the inner conscious being in nature, of the Purusha, by which it comes into some kind of conscious and ordered possession both of itself and its surroundings. [9]

Divine Will

Divine Will―the will expressing the highest Truth. [10]

Universal Will

It is not that one is allowed to exercise his will over another, but that there is a universal will and those who are more or less capable of manifesting this force seem to have a stronger will-power. It is like vital force or light or electricity or any other power of nature; some are good channels or instruments for manifesting the power, others are poor channels. There is no question of morality here. It is a fact of nature, a law of the great play. [11]

Will Power of Spirit

The central will? It depends on the divine Will. It is the individualised expression of the divine Will; and the divine Will is the expression of the divine Consciousness seeking to manifest itself, to realise itself. [12]


...Prakriti, an inert and mechanical self-driven operation, inconscient or conscient only by the light of Purusha, elevated by various degrees, vital, mental, supramental, of his soul-illumination of her workings. If we look at her on her other internal side where she moves nearer to unity with Purusha, she is Maya, will of being and becoming or of cessation from being and becoming with all their results, apparent to the consciousness, of involution and evolution, existing and non-existing, self-concealment of spirit and self-discovery of spirit. Both are sides of one and the same thing, Shakti, power of being of the spirit which operates, whether superconsciously or consciously or subconsciously in a seeming inconscience,—in fact all these motions coexist at the same time and in the same soul,—as the spirit's power of knowledge, power of will, power of process and action, jñāna-śakti, icchā-śakti, kriyā-śakti. By this power the spirit creates all things in itself, hides and discovers all itself in the form and behind the veil of its manifestation. [13]

Will power in Evolution

Even in the Inconscient there seems to be at least an urge of inherent necessity producing the evolution of forms and in the forms a developing Consciousness, and it may well be held that this urge is the evolutionary will of a secret Conscious Being and its push of progressive manifestation the evidence of an innate intention in the evolution.This is a teleological element and it is not irrational to admit it: for the conscious or even the inconscient nisus arises from a truth of conscious being that has become dynamic and set out to fulfil itself in an automatic process of material Nature; the teleology, the element of purpose in the nisus is the translation of self-operative Truth of Being into terms of self-effective Will-Power of that Being, and, if consciousness is there, such a Will-Power must also be there and the translation is normal and inevitable. Truth of being inevitably fulfilling itself would be the fundamental fact of the evolution, but Will and its purpose must be there as part of the instrumentation, as an element in the operative principle.[14]

Will Power of Supramental Being

The supramental being sees things from above in large spaces and at the highest from the spaces of the infinite. His view is not limited to the standpoint of the present but can see in the continuities of time or from above time in the indivisibilities of the Spirit. He sees truth in its proper order first in the essence, secondly in the potentialities that derive from it and only last in the actualities.The essential truths are to his sight self-existent, self-seen, not dependent for their proof on this or that actuality; the potential truths are truths of the power of being in itself and in things, truths of the infinity of force and real apart from their past or present realisation in this or that actuality or the habitual surface forms that we take for the whole of Nature; the actualities are only a selection from the potential truths he sees, dependent on them, limited and mutable. The tyranny of the present, of the actual, of the immediate range of facts, of the immediate urge and demand of action has no power over his thought and his will and he is therefore able to have a larger will-power founded on a larger knowledge. He sees things not as one on the levels surrounded by the jungle of present facts and phenomena but from above, not from outside and judged by their surfaces, but from within and viewed from the truth of their centre; therefore he is nearer the divine omniscience. He wills and acts from a dominating height and with a longer movement in time and a larger range of potencies, therefore he is nearer to the divine omnipotence. His being is not shut into the succession of the moments, but has the full power of the past and ranges seeingly through the future: not shut in the limiting ego and personal mind, but lives in the freedom of the universal, in God and in all beings and all things; not in the dull density of the physical mind, but in the light of the self and the infinity of the spirit.[15]


The Gods, who in their highest secret entity are powers of this Supermind, born of it, seated in it as in their proper home, are in their knowledge "truth-conscious" and in their action possessed of the "seer-will". Their conscious-force turned towards works and creation is possessed and guided by a perfect and direct knowledge of the thing to be done and its essence and its law,—a knowledge which determines a wholly effective will-power that does not deviate or falter in its process or in its result, but expresses and fulfils spontaneously and inevitably in the act that which has been seen in the vision. Light is here one with Force, the vibrations of knowledge with the rhythm of the will and both are one, perfectly and without seeking, groping or effort, with the assured result. [16]

Will to Progress in Different Parts of the Being see, as soon as one feels a wave of physical disequilibrium, of ill health coming, well, to concentrate in the right spirit is to concentrate in an inner calm, a trust in the divine Grace, and a will to remain in physical equilibrium and good health. This is the right spirit. In another case, one may feel a wave of anger or a fit of temper coming from outside; then one should withdraw into an inner calm, a detachment from superficial things, with a will to express only what comes from above and always be submissive to the divine Will. This is the right spirit. And in each case it is something like that. Naturally it always comes back to the same thing, that one must remember the Divine and put oneself at His service and will what He wills. [17]

Will to Progress in Physical

In the body there are invaluable and unknown treasures. In all its cells, there is an intensity of life, of aspiration, of the will to progress, which one does not usually even realise. The body-consciousness would have to be completely warped by the action of the mind and vital for it not to have an immediate will to re-establish the equilibrium. When this will is not there, it means that the entire body-consciousness has been spoilt by the intervention of the mind and vital… The body, if left to itself, is remarkable, for, not only does it aspire for equilibrium and well-being but it is capable of restoring the balance. If one leaves one's body alone without intervening with all those thoughts, all the vital reactions, all the depressions, and also all the so-called knowledge and mental constructions and fears—if one leaves the body to itself, spontaneously it will do what is necessary to set itself right again. [18]


Wake up in yourself a will to conquer. Not a mere will in the mind but a will in the very cells of your body. Without that you can't do anything; you may take a hundred medicines but they won't cure you unless you have a will to overcome the physical illness. [19]


Even the best sadhaks have these periods of suspension of the sadhana, of nothing happening, of the absence of the urge of the inner being. It is when some difficulty arises in the physical nature that has to be dealt with or when a pause has to be made for a veiled preparation, or for some similar reason. Even when the working of the sadhana is in the mind or vital which are more plastic such periods are frequent—when the physical is concerned they must necessarily come and are usually marked not so much by any apparent struggle but by an immobility and an inertia of the energies that were at work before. This is very troublesome to the mind because it suggests entire cessation, incapacity to progress or unfitness. But it is not really so. One must be quiet and go on opening oneself to the working or keeping the will to do so—afterwards there will be a greater progress. [20]

Will to Progress in Vital

The vital turned completely to the Divine is like a warrior. It has even the appearance of a warrior. The vital is the place of power and it is this power which impels it to fight, which can fight and conquer, and of all things this is the most difficult, for it is precisely these very qualities of fighting which create in the vital the see of revolt, independence, the will to carry out its own will. But if the vital understands and is converted, if it is truly surrendered to the divine Will, then these fighting capacities are turned against the anti-divine forces and against all the darkness which prevents their transformations. And they are all-powerful and can conquer the adversaries. The anti-divine forces are in the vital world; from there, naturally, they have spread out into the physical, but their true seat is in the vital world, and it is the converted vital force which has the true power to vanquish them. But of all things this conversion is the most difficult. [21]

Will to Progress in Psychic

And here [psychic] is the centre of the energies of progress. This is what is called the seat of Agni, but it is the energies of progress, the will to progress, that are here. [22]

Misconceptions about Will

And all the impulses, actions, movements arising in the being which are not that, we said were willings. And I told you in fact that without knowing it or at times even knowing it, you are moved by influences coming from outside which enter in without your even being aware of them and arouse in you what you call the will that a certain thing may happen or another may not, etc. [23]


There is no such thing as an inert passive will. Will is dynamic in its nature. Even if it does not struggle or endeavour its very presence is dynamic and acts dynamically on the resistance. [24]

Ownership of the Will

The individual being, and particularly the mind in it, have an instinctive repulsion to admitting that it's another force than their own small personal one which does things. There is a kind of instinct which makes you feel absolutely convinced that the effort of aspiration, the will to progress are things belonging to you by your own right and, therefore, that you have all the merit…. I knew people who had truly made a lot of progress, who were very close to the moment when one emerges into the truth of things, and who were held back simply by this. Because this need to be the source of the action, to have the merit of the effort, this need is so deeply rooted that they cannot take the last step. Sometimes it takes years. If they are told, "No, it isn't you, this energy which is in you, this will which is in you, this knowledge which is in you, all this is the Divine; it is not what you call yourself", this makes them so miserable that they can't do anything any more. [25]


It is not the right kind of will-power then [if it increases fatigue]—probably they use some fighting or effortful will-power instead of the quiet but strong will that calls down the higher consciousness and force. [26]

Why Will (Power/ to progress) is Important?

The will is a part of the consciousness and ought to be in human beings the chief agent in controlling the activities of the nature. [27]


In each one the will to progress is the needed thing—that is what opens us to the divine influence and makes us capable of receiving what it brings us. [28]


One must have an invariable will to acquire what is lacking in one's nature, to know what one does not yet know, to be able to do what one is not yet able to do. One must constantly progress in the light and peace that come from the absence of personal desires. One could take as a programme: "Always better. Forward!" And to have only one goal: to know the Divine in order to be able to manifest Him. Persevere, and what you cannot do today you will be able to do tomorrow. [29]

Positive Effects of Will

A persevering will surmounts all obstacles. [30]


One must have an unvarying will to acquire what one does not have in one's nature, to know what one does not yet know, to be able to do what one cannot yet do. One must progress constantly in the light and the peace which come from the absence of personal desire. If one has a strong will, he has only to orient it properly; if he has no will, he has first of all to build one for himself, which always takes long and is sometimes difficult. [31]


If there is a constant use of the will the rest of the being learns however slowly to obey the will and then the actions become in conformity with the will and not with the vital impulses and desires. As for the rest (the feelings and desires etc. themselves) if they are not indulged in action or imagination and not supported by the will, if they are merely looked at and rejected when they come, then after some struggle they begin to lose their force and dwindle away. [32]


Even the most beautiful thoughts will not make us progress unless we have a constant will for them to be expressed in us through nobler feelings, more exact sensations and better actions. [33]


If you want to learn to work really well, you must be modest, become aware of your imperfections and always maintain the will to progress. [34]

Will for Change

Q. My lower nature continues to do the same stupid things…What are Your conditions?

A: 1) to be convinced that you can change. 2) to will to change without accepting the excuses of the lower nature. 3) to persist in the will in spite of every fall. 4) to have an unshakable faith in the help you receive. [35]


Each time one makes an egoistic movement or does those things which should not be done, one must immediately catch it as though by its tail and then put it in the presence of one's ideal and one's will to progress, and put the light and consciousness upon it so that it may change. [36]


...if each element which comes with its ignorance, its unconsciousness, its egoism, is put before the will to change and one remains awake, compares, observes, studies and slowly acts, that becomes infinitely interesting, one makes marvellous and quite unexpected discoveries. One finds in oneself lots of small hidden folds, little things one had not seen at the beginning; one undertakes a sort of inner chase, goes hunting into small dark corners and tells oneself: "What, I was like that! This was there in me, I am harbouring this little thing"—sometimes so sordid, so mean, so nasty. And once it has been discovered, how wonderful! One puts the light upon it and it disappears and you no longer have those reactions which made you so sad before, when you used to say, "Oh! I shall never get there." For instance, you take a very simple resolution (apparently very simple): "I shall never tell a lie again." And suddenly, without your knowing why or how, the lie springs up all by itself and you notice it after you have uttered it: "But this is not correct—what I have just said; it was something else I meant to say." So you search, search...." "How did it happen? How did I think like that and speak like that? Who spoke in me, who pushed me?..." " You may give yourself quite a satisfactory explanation and say, "It came from outside" or "It was a moment of unconsciousness", and not think any longer about it. And the next time, it begins again. Instead of that, you search: "What can be the motive of one who tells lies?..." and you push—you push and all of a sudden you discover in a little corner something which wants to justify itself, thrust itself forward or assert its own way of seeing (no matter what, there are a number of reasons), show itself a little different from what it is so that people may have a good opinion of you and think you someone very remarkable.... It was that which spoke in you—not your active consciousness, but what was there and pushed the consciousness from behind. When you were not quite on your guard, it made use of your mouth, your tongue, and then there you were! The lie came out. [37]


There are defects in your vital nature which stand in the way of a settled spiritual progress: but they can be eliminated if, dropping all exaggerated ideas of "sin" and unfitness, you look quietly at them and recognise and reject them. Tranquillise in yourself all over-eager demands and desires, all excitement and exaggeration of opposite feelings and impulses; seek first intensity of devotion but also calm strength, purity and peace. Allow a quiet and steady will to progress to be settled in you; learn the habit of a silent, persistent and thorough assimilation of what the Mother puts into you. This is the sound way to advance. [38]


...if one sincerely has the will to change, it is a powerful help because it gives you the force to make the change, the fulcrum to make the change. But one must sincerely want to change. [39]

Will to Learn

…when one wants to understand the deep laws of life, wants to be ready to receive whatever message is sent by the Divine, if one wants to be able to penetrate the secrets of the Manifestation, all this asks for a developed mind, so one studies with that will. But then one no longer needs to make a choice to study, for everything, no matter what, the least little circumstance in life, becomes a teacher who can teach you something, teach you how to think and act. Even the reflections of an ignorant child can help you to understand something you didn't understand before. Your attitude is so different. It is always an attitude which is awaiting a discovery, an opportunity for progress, a rectification of a wrong movement, a step ahead, and so it is like a magnet that attracts from all around you opportunities to make this progress. The least things can teach you how to progress. As you have the consciousness and will to progress, everything becomes an opportunity, and you project this consciousness and will to progress upon all things. And not only is this useful for you, but it is useful for all those around you with whom you have a contact. [40]

Will for Perfection

It is said that one only does well what one is interested in doing. This is true, but it is truer still that one can learn to find interest in everything one does, even in what appear to be the most insignificant chores. The secret of this attainment lies in the urge towards self-perfection. Whatever occupation or task falls to your lot, you must do it with a will to progress; whatever one does, one must not only do it as best one can but strive to do it better and better in a constant effort for perfection. In this way everything without exception becomes interesting, from the most material chore to the most artistic and intellectual work. The scope for progress is infinite and can be applied to the smallest thing. [41]

Will for a Unified Nature

At one time the true being occupies the field of the nature, at another the lower nature used by some contrary Force pushes it back and seizes the ground,—and this we now see, while formerly the thing happened but the nature of the happening was not clear to us. If there is the firm will to progress, this division is overpassed and in the unified nature, unified around that will, there may be other difficulties, but this kind of discord and struggle will disappear. [42]

Will power for Physical Transformation

In the very, very old traditions—there was a tradition more ancient than the Vedic and the Chaldean which must have been the source of both—in that ancient tradition there is already mention of a "glorious body" which would be plastic enough to be transformed at every moment by the deeper consciousness: it would express that consciousness, it would have no fixity of form. It mentioned luminosity: the constituent matter could become luminous at will. It mentioned a sort of possibility of weightlessness which would allow the body to move about in the air only by the action of will-power and by certain processes of control of the inner energy, and so on. Much has been said about these things. [43]

Importance of Will to Progress

In Education

The attitude of the teacher must be one of a constant will to progress, not only in order to know always better what he wants to teach the students, but above all in order to be a living example to show them what they can become. [44]


The possibility and the will to progress. [is the basic thing to be taught to children] [45]


For the children, precisely because they are children, it would be best to instil in them the will to conquer the future, the will to always look ahead and to want to move on as swiftly as they can towards... what will be—but they should not drag with them the burden, the millstone of the whole oppressive weight of the past. It is only when we are very high in consciousness and knowledge that it is good to look behind to find the points where this future begins to show itself. [46]


Undeniably, what most impedes mental progress in children is the constant dispersion of their thoughts. Their thoughts flutter hither and thither like butterflies and they have to make a great effort to fix them. Yet this capacity is latent in them, for when you succeed in arousing their interest, they are capable of a good deal of attention. By his ingenuity, therefore, the educator will gradually help the child to become capable of a sustained effort of attention and a faculty of more and more complete absorption in the work in hand. All methods that can develop this faculty of attention from games to rewards are good and can all be utilised according to the need and the circumstances. But it is the psychological action that is most important and the sovereign method is to arouse in the child an interest in what you want to teach him, a liking for work, a will to progress. To love to learn is the most precious gift that one can give to a child: to love to learn always and everywhere, so that all circumstances, all happenings in life may be constantly renewed opportunities for learning more and always more. ...

When one has learned to silence the mind at will and to concentrate it in receptive silence, then there will be no problem that cannot be solved, no mental difficulty whose solution cannot be found. When it is agitated, thought becomes confused and impotent; in an attentive tranquillity, the light can manifest itself and open up new horizons to man's capacity. [47]

In Integral Yoga

The goal of [Integral] Yoga is always hard to reach...and it is only for those who have the call, the capacity, the willingness to face everything and every risk, even the risk of failure, and the will to progress towards an entire selflessness, desirelessness and surrender. [48]


All the psychological qualities can be cultivated as the muscles are—by regular, daily exercise. Above all, turn towards the Divine Force in a sincere aspiration and implore It to deliver you from your limitations. If you are sincere in your will to progress, you are sure to advance. [49]


As for sadhana what is necessary is to arrive at a certain quiet of the inner mind which makes meditation fruitful or a quietude of the heart which creates the psychic opening. It is only by regular concentration, constant aspiration and a will to purify the mind and heart of the things that disquiet and agitate them that this can be done. [50]


But the seeker of a greater perfection will draw back from all these dualities, regard them with an equal eye and arrive through equality at an impartial and universal action of the dynamic Tapas, spiritual force, in which his own force and will are turned into pure and just instruments of a greater calm secret of divine working. The ordinary mental standards will be exceeded on the basis of this dynamic equality. The eye of his will must look beyond to a purity of divine being, a motive of divine will-power guided by divine knowledge of which his perfected nature will be the engine, yantra. [51]

How to Cultivate Will to Progress

How to Cultivate Will to Progress : Helpful Practices

Q.How can one increase single-mindedness and will-power?

A: Through regular, persevering, obstinate, unflagging exercise—I mean exercise of concentration and will. [52]


Q. Mother, how can one strengthen one's will?

A:Oh, as one strengthen muscles, by a methodical exercise. You take one little thing, something you want to do or don't want to do. Begin with a small thing, not something very essential to the being, but a small detail. And then, if, for instance, it is something you are in the habit of doing, you insist on it with the same regularity, you see, either not to do it or to do it—you insist on it and compel yourself to do it as you compel yourself to lift a weight—it's the same thing. You make the same kind of effort, but it is more of an inner effort. And after having taken little things like this—things relatively easy, you know—after taking these and succeeding with them, you can unite with a greater force and try a more complicated experiment. And gradually, if you do this regularly, you will end up by acquiring an independent and very strong will. [53]


Q. How can one become aware of the central will?

A:Ah, this of course is another side of the problem. First of all one must become aware of what is highest, most true, most universal and eternal in one's consciousness. This is learnt gradually. One learns to discern among one's ordinary, external movements and the different gradations of the movements of one's inner consciousness. And if one continues to do this with a certain persistence, one realises what it is that puts this highest part of one's being into motion, which represents the ideal of the being. There is no other way. Sometimes this awake through reading something, sometimes through a conversation, sometimes through a more or less dramatic, that is, unexpected event, which gives you a shock, shakes you up, brings you out of your usual little rut. Sometimes when you are in very great danger, suddenly you feel as though you are above yourself and beyond your small habitual weakness, having within you something higher which can hold out against circumstances.

Such occasions make you enter, first, into contact with that. Afterwards by a methodical discipline you can make the contact continuous; but usually this takes time. But first you get it like that, suddenly, for one reason or another. [54]


To learn how to will is a very important thing. And to will truly, you must unify your being. In fact, to be a being, one must first unify oneself. If one is pulled by absolutely opposite tendencies, if one spends three-fourths of his life without being conscious of himself and the reasons why he does things, is one a real being? One does not exist. One is a mass of influences, movements, forces, actions, reactions, but one is not a being. One begins to become a being when he begins to have a will. And one can't have a will unless he is unified. And when you have a will, you will be able to say, say to the Divine: "I want what You want." But not before that. Because in order to want what the Divine wants, you must have a will, otherwise you can will nothing at all. You would like to. You would like it very much. You would very much like to want what the Divine wants to do. You don't possess a will to give to Him and to put at His service. Something like that, gelatinous, like jelly-fish... there... a mass of good wills—and I am considering the better side of things and forgetting the bad wills—a mass of good wills, half-conscious and fluctuating...[55]


The only way to do it [develop the true will-power] is (1) to become aware of a conscious Force behind that uses the mind etc. (2) to learn by practice to direct that Force towards its object. I do not suppose you will find it easy to do either of these things at once—one must first learn to live more deeply in the inner consciousness than you have done hitherto. [56]


To remain quiet within, firm in the will to go through, refusing to be disturbed or discouraged by difficulties or fluctuations, that is one of the first things to be learned on the Path. To do otherwise is to encourage the instability of consciousness, the difficulty of keeping experience of which you complain. It is only if you keep quiet and steady within that the lines of experience can go on with some steadiness—though they are never without periods of interruption and fluctuation; but these, if properly treated, can then become periods of assimilation and exhaustion of difficulty rather than denials of sadhana.

A spiritual atmosphere is more important than outer conditions; if one can get that and also create one's own spiritual air to breathe in and live in it, that is the true condition of progress.[57]

By Aspiration

You can at every minute make the gift of your will in an aspiration—and an aspiration which formulates itself very simply, not just "Lord, Thy will be done", but "Grant that I may do as well as I can the best thing to do."

You may not know at every moment what is the best thing to do or how to do it, but you can place your will at the disposal of the Divine to do the best possible, the best thing possible. You will see it will have marvellous results. Do this with consciousness, sincerity and perseverance, and you will find yourself getting along with gigantic strides. It is like that, isn't it? One must do things with all the ardour of one's soul, with all the strength of one's will; do at every moment the best possible, the best thing possible. What others do is not your concern—this is something I shall never be able to repeat to you often enough. [58]

By Concentration in the Heart

But it is better because if you concentrate there [heart], deeply enough, it is there that you enter into contact with the psychic for the first time; while if you concentrate in the head you have to pass later from the head to the heart to be able to identify yourself with the psychic being. And if you concentrate by gathering the energies, it is better to gather them here, because it is in this centre, in this region of the being that you find the will to progress, the force of purification, and the most intense and effective aspiration. The aspiration that comes from the heart is much more effective than that from the head. [59]

By Sincerity

And there are people who tell me, "I don't have the will- power." That means you are not sincere. For sincerity is an infinitely more powerful force than all the wills in the world. It can change anything whatever in the twinkling of an eye; it takes hold of it, grips it, pulls it out—and then it's over. [60]


But if you are truly sincere in your will to find and live the truth, then you learn to listen better and better, you learn to discriminate more and more, and even if it costs you an effort, even if it causes you pain, you learn to obey. And even if you have obeyed only once, it is a powerful help, a considerable progress on the path towards the discrimination between what is and what is not the soul. With this discrimination and the necessary sincerity you are sure to reach the goal. [Based on Aphorism 9 - 9—What the soul sees and has experienced, that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.][61]

By Surrender

Q. But how can one do this [surrender] before the union has been effected?

A:You have a will and you can offer that will. Take the example of becoming conscious of your nights. If you take the attitude of passive surrender, you would say, “When it is the Divine Will that I should become conscious, then I shall become conscious.” On the other hand, if you offer your will to the Divine, you begin to will, you say, “I will become conscious of my nights.” You have the will that it should be done; you do not sit down idle and wait. The surrender comes in when you take the attitude that says, “I give my will to the Divine. I intensely want to become conscious of my nights, I have not the knowledge, let the Divine Will work it out for me.” Your will must continue to act steadily, not in the way of choosing a particular action or demanding a particular object, but as an ardent aspiration concentrated upon the end to be achieved. This is the first step. If you are vigilant, if your attention is alert, you will certainly receive something in the form of an inspiration of what is to be done and that you must forthwith proceed to do. Only, you must remember that to surrender is to accept whatever is the result of your action, though the result may be quite different from what you expect. On the other hand, if your surrender is passive, you will do nothing and try nothing; you will simply go to sleep and wait for a miracle. Now to know whether your will or desire is in agreement with the Divine Will or not, you must look and see whether you have an answer or have no answer, whether you feel supported or contradicted, not by the mind or the vital or the body, but by that something which is always there deep in the inner being, in your heart. [62]


Q.Should not one offer all one's willed actions to the Divine? That is, first do the willed actions and then offer them?

A: Perhaps you could first silence your will and wait for the inner voice before acting! That would be wiser.

You see, we have already found many ways of offering our will to the Divine: first, not to will any longer! Second, do what everybody wants except oneself! Third, want no matter what and do no matter what, then, afterwards, offer to the Divine what one has done!

But one can also formulate to oneself one's will and try to pass it before the screen of one's higher ideal, and see what it looks like in front of this ideal, whether it cuts a fine figure or not. If it vacillates, you may be sure there is something there to check up. If, on the other hand, it passes very quietly and without protest, you may risk doing what you wanted and see the result. But here too we are before a very difficult problem.... Those who wish to remain in an inner peace say that everything that happens is the will of God—this is very convenient for being quiet, it is the best way, there is no better; if there is a better way, it is much more difficult. So, if your will is contradicted, you say it is the will of God; you are quiet, you have done what you could and the result is different from what you expected, and you are in peace. (Note that this is not very easy; it is so far quite good, but this is not all.) But it may also be quite possible that your will was contradicted by circumstances and yet it was right. Then the solution is much more difficult. First, how to know that it was right?... If you are quite impartial, quiet, peaceful, and as little egoistic as possible, if you look straight in the face at what has happened and see a sort of contradiction, the impression that a light has gone out and you are in the presence of a falsehood, you remain quite calm, but you see and understand that your will has been contradicted for some unknown reason, though in itself it was not false, that what you had seen was the truth but it did not manifest itself for some reason or other. So you must start on the adventure of discovering the reason why your truth did not manifest itself. This is a problem a little more difficult... but if you expand your vision sufficiently, both in height and wideness, you can immediately see the consequences your will would have had if it had been realised, and the consequences of what would have happened; and if you fling your view far enough, you will be able to see that your will, however true it was, was a partial truth—it was not a collective, general truth, and still less a universal one—and, consequently, if this truth had been realised at that moment, it would have dislocated a certain ensemble and many things which form a part of the divine Work (for everything, in fact, is a part of the divine Work, the entire creation, the entire universe): one part of the whole would have been left behind. [63]

By Choosing Difficulties

It is a recognised fact that in order to progress rapidly, one must not be afraid of difficulties; on the contrary, by choosing to do the difficult thing at every opportunity, one increases the will-power and strengthens the nerves. Now, it is much more difficult to lead a life of moderation and balance, in equanimity and serenity, than to try to contend with over-indulgence in pleasure and the obscuration it entails, by over-indulgence in asceticism and the disintegration it causes. It is much more difficult to achieve the harmonious and progressive development of one's physical being in calm and simplicity than to ill-treat it to the point of annihilation. It is much more difficult to live soberly and with- out desire than to deprive the body of its indispensable nourishment and cleanliness and boast proudly of one's abstinence. It is much more difficult to avoid or to surmount and conquer illness by an inner and outer harmony, purity and balance, than to disregard and ignore it and leave it free to do its work of destruction. And the most difficult thing of all is to maintain the consciousness constantly at the height of its capacity, never allowing the body to act under the influence of a lower impulse. [64]


...when you live in an ordinary consciousness, and to the extent you remain on a certain plane which is a combination of the most material mind, vital, physical, that is, the ordinary plane of life, you are subject to the determinism of this plane and it is this subjection to the determinism of this plane which puts you exactly in these conditions, for you have deep within you something which aspires for another life but doesn't yet know how to live that other life, and which pushes from inside in order to get the conditions necessary for this other life. These are inner conditions, they are not outer conditions. But this takes its support on outside obstacles in order to strengthen itself in its will to progress; and so, if you look at it from within, you can even say that it is you yourself who create the difficulties to help you to go forward. [65]

Role of Higher Consciousness

And yet, consciousness has been given to man so that he can progress, can discover what he doesn’t know, develop into what he has not yet become; and so it may be said that there is a higher state than that of an immobile and static peace: it is a trust total enough for one to keep the will to progress, to preserve the effort for progress while ridding it of all anxiety, all care for results and consequences. This is one step ahead of the methods which may be called “quietist”, which are founded on the rejection of all activity and a plunging into an immobility and inner silence, which forsake all life because it has been suddenly felt that without peace one can’t have any inner realization and, quite naturally, one thought that one couldn’t have peace so long as one was living in outer conditions, in the state of anxiety in which problems are set and cannot be solved, for one does not have the knowledge to do so. [66]


Q.Sweet Mother, how can we cut the knot of the ego?

A:How to cut it? Take a sword and strike it (laughter), when one becomes conscious of it. For usually one is not; we think it quite normal, what happen to us; and in fact it is very normal but we think it quite good also. So to begin with one must have a great clear-sightedness to become aware that one is enclosed in all these knots which hold one in bondage. And then, when one is aware that there's something altogether tightly closed in there—so tightly that one has tried in vain to move it—then one imagines his will to be a very sharp sword-blade, and with all one's force one strikes a blow on this knot (imaginary, of course, one doesn't take up a sword in fact), and this produces a result. Of course you can do this work from the psychological point of view, discovering all the elements constituting this knot, the whole set of resistances, habits, preferences, of all that holds you narrowly closed in. So when you grow aware of this, you can concentrate and call the divine Force and the Grace and strike a good blow on this formation, these things so closely held, like that, that nothing can separate them. And at that moment you must resolve that you will no longer listen to these things, that you will listen only to the divine Consciousness and will do no other work except the divine work without worrying about personal results, free from all attachment, free from all preference, free from all wish for success, power, satisfaction, vanity, all this... All this must disappear and you must see only the divine Will incarnated in your will and making you act. Then, in this way, you are cured. [67]

Common Errors (Obstacles in Developing Will power)

Tamas incapacitates and takes away the power to respond to divine impulse and the energy to change and the will to progress and make ourselves plastic to a greater Shakti. [68]


That [the idea that one lacks will-power] is the suggestion that has been enforced on you by the physical inertia. It has covered up your will and persuaded you that there is no will left and no possibility of any will. [69]

Desire Mixed with Aspiration

And, to take an example, you can understand it in this way: if you have an aspiration, say, suddenly you think of the possibility of progress and have an aspiration for progress; but if a desire is mixed with your aspiration, you will have the desire to progress for the powers this will give you or the importance it will give you or the improvement in your living conditions. You go and immediately mix all kinds of little very personal reasons with your aspiration. And to tell the truth, very few people have a very pure aspiration. An aspiration, a will to progress, just that; it stops there. Because one aspires for progress and then, there we are, let us not go farther. We want progress. But usually there get mixed up with it all kinds of desires for the results of this progress. And so desire comes in, you see; this brings exactly what he says, a consciousness which is impure and muddy, and inside this nothing higher can come. This must be completely eliminated to begin with. If one looks at himself very sincerely, very straightforwardly and very severely, he very quickly perceives that very few things, very few movements of consciousness are free from being mixed with desires. Even in what you take for a higher movement, there is always... no, happily not always, but most often there is a desire mixed. The desire of the see of one's importance, if only this, that kind of self-satisfaction, the satisfaction of being someone superior. [70]

Dependence on Mind

It is of course a fluctuation of the mental will that often prevents a knowledge gained from being put into steady practice. If the will is not strong enough, then the greater Will behind which is the will of the Mother, her conscious Force in which knowledge and will are united, must be called in to strengthen and support it. Very often, however, even if the will as well as the knowledge are there, the habit of the vital nature brings in the old reactions. This can only be overcome by a steady undiscouraged aspiration which will bring out more and more of the psychic and its true movements to push out and displace the wrong ones. [71]


But when we take our station above the physical mind, we are able then to separate clearly the two forms of energy, the two levels of our being, disentangle their action and act with a clearer and more potent self-knowledge and an enlightened and a purer will-power. Nevertheless the control is not complete, spontaneous, sovereign so long as we work with the mind as our chief guiding and controlling force. The mental energy we find to be itself derivative, a lower and limiting power of the conscious spirit which acts only by isolated and combined seeings, imperfect and incomplete half-lights which we take for full and adequate light, and with a disparity between the idea and knowledge and the effective will-power [72]


There must be no little exceptions to the rule that are indulged in "just for once" but which are repeated very often—for as soon as one yields to temptation, even "just for once", one lessens the resistance of the will-power and opens the door to every failure. One must therefore forgo all weakness: no more nightly escapades from which one comes back exhausted, no more feasting and carousing which upset the normal functioning of the stomach, no more distractions, amusements and pleasures that only waste energy and leave one without the strength to do the daily practice. One must submit to the austerity of a sensible and regular life, concentrating all one's physical attention on building a body that comes as close to perfection as possible….. [73]

Opinion of Others

… for instead of trying to make a good impression, one must first endeavour to know the impression one is actually making, in all humility, in order to profit by the lesson this gives. That is quite rare, and in fact, if one isn't too naïve, one usually attaches importance only to the opinion of those who have more experience, more knowledge and more wisdom than oneself. And so that leads us straight to one of the best methods of cure. It is precisely to come to understand that the opinion of those who are as ignorant and blind as ourselves cannot have a very great value for us from the point of view of the deeper reality and the will to progress, and so one stops attaching much importance to that. [74]

More on Will Power

...the turn of the nature may be to the predominance of the will-force and the capacities which make for strength, energy, courage, leadership, protection, rule, victory in every kind of battle, a creative and formative action, the will-power which lays its hold on the material of life and on the wills of other men and compels the environment into the shapes which the Shakti within us seeks to impose on life or acts powerfully according to the work to be done to maintain what is in being or to destroy it and make clear the paths of the world or to bring out into definite shape what is to be. [75]


Buddhi is a construction of conscious being which quite exceeds its beginnings in the basic chitta; it is the intelligence with its power of knowledge and will. Buddhi takes up and deals with all the rest of the action of the mind and life and body. It is in its nature thought-power and will-power of the Spirit turned into the lower form of a mental activity. We may distinguish three successive gradations of the action of this intelligence. There is first an inferior perceptive understanding which simply takes up, records, underscsponds to the communications of the sense-mind, memory, heart and sensational mentality. It creates by their means an elementary thinking mind which does not go beyond their data, but subjects itself to their mould and rings out their repetitions, runs round and round in the habitual circle of thought and will suggested by them or follows, with an obedient subservience of the reason to the suggestions of life, any fresh determinations which may be offered to its perception and conception. Beyond this elementary understanding, which we all use to an enormous extent, there is a power of arranging or selecting reason and will-force of the intelligence which has for its action and aim an attempt to arrive at a plausible, sufficient, settled ordering of knowledge and will for the use of an intellectual conception of life. [76]


All those who wish to live and work at Auroville must have an integral goodwill, a constant aspiration to know the Truth and to submit to it, enough plasticity to confront the exigencies of work and an endless will to progress so as to move forward towards the ultimate Truth. [77]


I can't say that I know of any special device for it[to cure stammering]—people have used various kinds of devices to get over it, but behind them all will-power and a patient discipline of the utterance are indispensable. [78]

Read Summary of Will to Progress

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