The cycles of the past are coming to an end. The wheels of the future are turning. We need the daring spirit of youth to turn the wheels swiftly and decisively into the future against the dead resistance of the past and the opposition of dark forces. This brings us to the question: what are the main principles, values or disciplines that will help us to create the future world which according to the Indian tradition will be the age of Truth, Satyayuga?
From Kaliyuga to satyayuga; path of progressive sincerity; increasing consciousness; path of integration
From Kaliyuga to Satyayuga
Our Indian mythology has familarised us with the concept of Kaliyuga and satya yuga. The present age is considered as Kaliyuga. The Indian mythos portrays Kaliyuga in entirely negative terms as the age of decay and degeneration. Yet according to Sri Aurobindo, Kaliyuga is not entirely the age of degeneration but a phase of human evolution in which all the old values, ideals, traditions and customs of the past are destroyed to pave the way for the Satyayuga, the age of truth of the next cycle of evolution. Today we are witnessing the cracking of the moribund dharmas of the past. The spirit of Kaliyuga is cleansing the world to receive the age of Truth Satyayuga.
But what is Truth? Very few really know. “Truth” is as much an abused misunderstood word as “Love.” Most of us assert our personal opinions and biased judgement of our mind as truth. At a higher level, we may try to intellectually understand what truth is by reading and reflecting on the scriptural statements or spiritual teachings on truth. We may also “know” conceptually what to do to become conscious of the truth within us by reading yogic literature. All these are relatively easy things. But it is not that easy to live the truth in practice. Unless we live the truth we cannot know it. Here again these things are easy to explain in words or give lectures and sermons to others. But only when we make the effort to live it, will we know how difficult it is. The path of truth is a long and arduous journey, full of dangers and pitfalls; “Sharp like the edge of a razor” says an Indian scripture. Here is an illustrative story:
A seeker of truth came to a spiritual master and told him “I am seeking for the truth for the past three years and I have not found it.” The master smiled and replied:
“My dear son, it took me twelve years to know what truth is. Another twelve years to reject all that is false, still another twelve years to assimilate truth into my whole being. So it took me thirty six years just to become entirely honest in my quest for truth. But still I cannot say I have touched the essence of the truth. And you… you have not even sown the seeds of truth in the soil of your mind, but asking where the tree is.”
The Path of Progressive Sincerity
But what is the practical discipline to find the truth? It is what Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram has emphasized repeatedly, tirelessly and patiently: the discipline of Sincerity. The Truth, whatever it may be, manifests itself in our psychological being as sincerity. But what is sincerity? Here again Mother has given the ideal, to organize every part of our being around the innermost truth of our self. This is our soul or psychic being. When we are able to do it perfectly we have attained the highest ideal of sincerity. But most of us are far away from this ideal. To make the ideal more near to us we have to add the word “progressive”. We may define sincerity as the progressive integration of our body, life and mind around our psychic center. Thus, sincerity is a progressive quest, and not something which can be achieved in a few days. This means, however sincere we are or imagine ourselves to be, we must never be satisfied with our present level of sincerity. The Mother has said “if you are perfectly sincere you will be the Divine” and similarly “if you have never lied you will be the Truth.” So as long as we have not become the Divine and the Truth there is always the need and scope for becoming more and more sincere and truthful in our thought, feeling, will, speech and actions.
The next question is to define the first steps on this path of progressive sincerity. To become more and more conscious, to know oneself as we are, and expose all our inner movement to the divine within us, without hiding, suppressing or justifying anything, this is the first step. In other words we must inwardly strip ourselves naked before the inner light of truth. When we make this effort we will be surprised to know how much insincerity and falsehood lurks within our thoughts, feelings, motives and actions, hiding behind thousands of minute self-deceptions, rationalizations, justifications and assertions, sometimes wearing saintly masks. For example Swami Vivekananda once said: “I had a great dislike for ascetics. But when I examined… the cause of this dislike, I found that I am not capable of such difficult austerities, so what I am not able to do I hated.” When we examine ourselves in this way with a merciless honesty, we will also find hundreds of such self-deception within us. Sometimes, only after entering into the spiritual path and making the effort of sincerity we know how unspiritual and insincere we are!
The Path of Integration
After becoming more aware of our true nature, the next step is to have a clear perception of the ideal of the highest truth and harmonise all our thoughts, feelings, and actions around this ideal. This has to be a progressive harmony. As we grow in insight and progress towards a deeper, higher and broader understanding, we have to constantly reorganize our being according to this growing understanding of truth. The third step is to make an effort to become conscious of the spiritual self within us and live according to its inner guidance. All three steps are not exactly successive but can be pursued simultaneously.
The author is a student and practitioner in the path of integral yoga.