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object:2.1.1.04 - Reading, Yogic Force and the Development of Style
book class:Letters On Poetry And Art
author class:Sri Aurobindo
subject class:Integral Yoga
media class:chapter

To manufacture your style, you will hardly deny that your enormous reading contributed to it.

Excuse me! I never manufactured my style; style with any life in it cannot be manufactured. It is born and grows like any other living thing. Of course it was fed on my reading which was not enormousI have read comparatively little(there are people in India who have read fifty times or a hundred times as much as I have) only I have made much out of that little. For the rest it is Yoga that has developed my style by the development of consciousness, fineness and accuracy of thought and vision, increasing inspiration and an increasing intuitive discrimination (self-critical) of right thought, word form, just image and figure.

29 October 1935
***
1 Nov 1935

Methinks you are making just a little too much of Yogic Force. Its potency as regards matters spiritual is undeniable, but for artistic or intellectual things one cant be so sure about its effectiveness. Take Dilips case; one could very well say: Why give credit to the Force? Had he been as assiduous, sincere etc. elsewhere, he would have done just the same.

Will you explain to me how Dilip who could not write a single good poem and had no power over rhythm and metre before he came here, suddenly, not after long assiduous efforts, blossomed into a poet, rhythmist and metrist after he came here? Why was Tagore dumbfounded by the lame man throwing away his crutches and running freely and surely on the paths of rhythm? Why was it that I who never understood or cared for painting, suddenly in a single hour by an opening of vision got the eye to see and the mind of understanding about colour, line and design? How was it that I who was unable to under stand and follow a metaphysical argument and whom a page of Kant or Hegel or Hume or even Berkeley left either dazed and uncomprehending and fatigued or totally uninterested because I could not fathom or follow, suddenly began writing pages of the stuff as soon as I started the Arya and am now reputed to be a great philosopher? How is it that at a time when I felt it difficult to produce more than a paragraph of prose from time to time and more than a rare poem, short and laboured, perhaps one in two months, suddenly after concentrating and practising Pranayama daily began to write pages and pages in a single day and kept sufficient faculty to edit a big daily paper and afterwards to write 60 pages of philosophy every month? Kindly reflect a little and dont talk facile nonsense. Even if a thing can be done in a moment or a few days by Yoga which would ordinarily take a long, assiduous, sincere and earnest cultivation, that would of itself show the power of the Yoga force. But here a faculty that did not exist appears quickly and spontaneously or impotence changes into highest potency or an obstructed talent changes with equal rapidity into fluent and facile sovereignty. If you deny that evidence, no evidence will convince you, because you are determined to think otherwise.

So about your style too, it is difficult to understand how much the Force has contributed towards its perfection.

It may be difficult for you to understand, but it is not difficult for me, since I have followed my own evolution from stage to stage with a perfect vigilance and following up of the process. I have made no endeavours in writing. I have simply left the higher Power to work and when it did not work I made no efforts at all. It was in the old intellectual days that I sometimes tried to force things, but not after I started the development of poetry and prose by Yoga. Let me remind you also that when I was writing the Arya and also since whenever I write these letters or replies, I never think or seek for expressions or try to write in good style; it is out of a silent mind that I write whatever comes ready-shaped from above. Even when I correct, it is because the correction comes in the same way. Where then is the place for even a slight endeavour or any room at all for my great endeavours? Well?

By the way, please try to understand that the supra intellectual (not the supramental only) is the field of a spontaneous automatic action. To get it or to get yourself open to it needs efforts, but once it acts there is no effort. Your grey matter does not easily open; it closes up also too easily, so each time an effort has to be made, perhaps too much effortif your grey matter would sensibly accommodate itself to the automatic flow there would not be the difficulty and the need of assiduous, earnest and sincere endeavour each time. Methinks. Well?

I challenge your assertion that the Force is more easily potent to produce spiritual results than mental (literary) results. It seems to me the other way round. In my own case the first time I started Yoga, Pranayama etc., I laboured 5 hours a day for a long time and concentrated and struggled for five years without any least spiritual result1, but poetry came like a river and prose like a flood and other things too that were mental, vital or physical, not spiritual, richnesses and openings. I have seen in many cases an activity of the mind in various directions as the first or at least an early result. Why? Because there is less resistance, more cooperation from the confounded lower members for these things than for a psychic or a spiritual change. That is easy to understand at least. Well?

1 November 1935

  N.B. When the spiritual experiences did come, they were as unaccountable and automatic asas blazes.

***
19 Sep 1936

To try to be a literary man and yet not to know what big literary people have contributed would be inexcusable.

Why is it inexcusable? I dont know what the Japanese or the Soviet Russian writers have contributed, but I feel quite happy and moral in my ignorance. As for reading Dickens in order to be a literary man, thats a strange idea. He was the most unliterary bloke that ever succeeded in literature and his style is a howling desert.

19 September 1936
***
13 Jul 1937

You have nowhere said anything about Firdausi, the epic poet of Persia, author of Shahnameh? How is it that you who have made your own culture so wide by means of learning so many languages have allowed a serious gap in it by not knowing Persian?

have read Firdausi in a translation long ago, but it gave no idea at all of the poetic qualities of the original. As for gaps in the culturewell, I dont know Russian or Finnish (missing the Kalevala) and have not read the Nibelungenlied in the original, nor for that matter Pentaurs poem on the conquests of Rameses in ancient Egyptian or at least the fragment of it that survives. I dont know Arabic either but I dont mind that having read Burtons translation of the Arabian Nights which is as much a classic as the original. Anyhow the gaps are vast and many.

13 July 1937
***



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2.1.1.04_-_Reading,_Yogic_Force_and_the_Development_of_Style, #Letters On Poetry And Art, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object:2.1.1.04 - Reading, Yogic Force and the Development of Style
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