When an individual turns his attention to the spiritual path, he may experience along the way certain doubts as to his suitability, his capacity, and his ability to attain the truth described by those who have experience along the path and who describe various steps and stages. The way is long and difficulties abound, no doubt, but only those who have reached a certain level of inner development even get a glimpse of what lies ahead. The path then requires substantial patience and persistence, and an all-abiding faith in the ultimate result, which is, after all, in the hands of the Divine, not controllable by any human agency. We are reminded by Sri Aurobindo that “he who chooses the Divine has been chosen by the Divine.” And Sri Krishna makes it clear that there is no failure for those who take up the spiritual life, even if they do not recognise for themselves the fruits of the effort in this lifetime, as he indicates that no effort towards spiritual realisation is ever lost.

It should also be noted that even the briefest glimpse will have its impact on the life of the individual. What causes a young child, for instance, to wonder about his existence, or to take up deep study of religion, science, philosophy without any obvious external pressure to do so? What causes a child to take birth in a family that is spiritually awake and thus, is able to provide a suitable atmosphere for the child to grow in this direction? The child does not necessarily bring with him the details of past growth and experience, but the impressions guide his seeking in this lifetime. We see such examples and can recognise that there was a calling already existent in the child who embodies a soul that has reached a point where it can now begin to attend to these deeper existential issues and not simply immerse himself in the outer life. The spiritual force, once active in the individual, will eventually reach its ultimate fruition, as it is the most powerful force active in the human being, far more powerful than the material, vital or mental forces with which we are most familiar in our limited human existence.

The Mother notes: “It is enough to have had once one minute of aspiration and a will even if it be very fugitive, to become conscious of the Divine, to realise the Divine, for it to flash like lightning through the whole body — there are even cells of the body which respond. This is not visible all at once, but there is a response everywhere. And it is by slowly, carefully, putting together all these parts which have responded, though it be but once, that one can build up something which will be coherent and organised, and which will permit one’s action to continue with will, sincerity and perseverance.”

“Even a fleeting idea in a child, at a certain moment in its childhood when the psychic being is most in front, if it succeeds in penetrating through the outer consciousness and giving the child just an impression of something beautiful which must be realised, it creates a little nucleus and upon this you build your action. There is a vast mass of humanity to whom one would never say, ‘You must realise the Divine’ or ‘Do yoga to find the Divine.’ If you observe well you will see that it is a tiny minority to whom this can be said. It means that this minority of beings is ‘prepared’ to do yoga, it is that. It is that there has been a beginning of realisation — a beginning is enough.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter II Awakening of Consciousness, pp. 20-21

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.