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The Unregenerate Vital

Tuesday July 5 2005 09:16 IST

By Karmayogi

An idea of Sri Aurobindo in an article of mine made a vastly informed reader of eminence write to me asking for a reference to the original. The original in effect says the unregenerate vital is unwilling to be under an obligation. He who receives a help has a natural tendency to hurt the benefactor. This is a truth known to us centuries ago and is captured in a proverb: if only you take pity on a suffering creature, the SINS of six months will at once land on you. History, literature and life offer copious confirmation of this truth. It is no use looking for confirmation in others. It will serve its spiritual purpose if it can throw light on the behaviour of ones own vital.

Vital refers to the nerves, the seat of emotions and sensations. In 1964 a teacher took into his head to make his students speak English. It was an important school of the district run by missionaries. Situated as it was by the side of the railway station, it was fed by the rural children. No student, including the best, could write a sentence of his own in English. Boys only memorised the notes of the teacher.

In 1964 not all graduates could write a page of English. The linguistic truth is English, or for that matter any language, can be taught and learned in three months. The enthusiasm of the teacher to make the students of the 10th standard write their own English was unwelcome to the class. Anyway, the effort met with success. He chose ten of them and asked them to summarise retold classic stories.

Of them, two did very well and learned from those retold books how to write English well in its native idiom. The pity is, the teacher could not write so well, as he had not learned those idiomatic expressions in his school days. Of the two boys, one was the son of another teacher. It was all done for love, not for any gain. That one boy summarised 52 retold books of a hundred pages each and excelled in learning.

The next year, the boy received the benefit of teaching and passed SSLC. He lived very close to the teacher. On the day of the results, there was a crowd of boys at the teachers house but this excellent boy was missing. His father met the teacher at the school and said his son was anxious to meet him and thank him. For one year, the boy never turned up and the father never failed to declare the pious intentions of the boy.

The teacher left the school. After several years, the father of the boy met the teacher in a bus and said, My son is anxious to meet you and thank you! In fact, the boy did turn up to meet his old teacher when he was 40 years of age, but the teacher was not available. Out of the rules of life I have culled, a few are rules without exception. Of these, this rule is one. It is the spiritual wisdom of this country which has given this rule.

In Europe, the same idea is expressed as a joke, I wonder why he is angry with me; I have not done him any good. The famous patriot of Calcutta, Vidyasagar often used to quote this. Many attributed this joke to him, as if it was his original coinage. To take a LOOK at our own vital and see how civilised it is when it receives an uncalled for act of benevolence is a useful exercise in life. Here in this yoga, it is essential to constantly examine oneself from this point of view.

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