Sincerity: The Bedrock of Sadhana

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Sincerity holds great significance in the Mother’s yoga and the sadhana of Sri Aurobindo. It is one of the twelve attributes of the Mother’s symbol, twelve inevitable and fundamental aspects of spiritual adventure. Both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo have laid excessive emphasis on the quality of sincerity and its inevitability in the yoga sadhana.

The Mother has called sincerity “the key to divine doors” (CWM, Vol. 14, p. 65) and man’s impregnable ‘safeguard’ on the journey against strong and irresistible hostile forces. She has called sincerity “the beginning of all progress” and the sure “certitude of victory”. This clearly underscores the inevitability of sincerity in our life and sadhana. Sincerity pays and pays handsomely.

All glorious and highly successful material and spiritual stories of human history are actually annals of commitment to the cause and absolute sincerity. In one of his highly insightful letters written to Dilip Kumar Roy, Sri Aurobindo writes, “…to me the ultimate value of a man is not to be measured by what he says, or even what he does, but by what he becomes.” (Among the Great, p. 226). There is great focus on ‘becoming’, the decisive efflorescence of any integral sadhana.  This ‘becoming’ becomes possible through the triple inner lamps of faith, sincerity and surrender.

One’s spiritual success can be measured in proportion of one’s degree of sincerity and surrender. There are many who plan big, talk tall and think unendingly but gain and execute very little, small and insignificant success. With the armour of sincerity, “difficulties could be turned into opportunities” and mundane life into a majestic one. In ‘The Mother,’ his seminal text on integral yoga sadhana, Sri Aurobindo says:

“The more complete your faith, sincerity and surrender, the more will grace and protection be with you. And when the grace and protection of the Divine Mother are with you, what is there that can touch you or whom need you fear?”

(CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 9)

Generally, we live a fragmented and spiritually divided life and keep our doors ajar to enemies invisible. As a result, our “spirit and members are at war” (Savitri, CWSA, Vol. p. 337). There is a great chasm between what the soul suggests and the intellect understands and the senses execute! The only way to bridge the rift between spirit and its instruments and to create harmony and order in place of clash and cacophony among the different parts of our being is to be absolutely sincere. The Divine should have the supreme place in our life and a raison d’être of our existence. We must carefully shun all duplicity and doublespeak, skullduggery and subterfuge. The Mother elucidates this aspect more beautifully in these lines:

“To be sincere, all the parts of the being must be united in their aspiration for the Divine—not that one part wants and others refuse and revolt. To be sincere in the aspiration—to want the Divine for the Divine’s sake, not for fame or name or prestige or power or any satisfaction of vanity.”

(CWM, Vol. 14, p. 65)

The utmost importance of sincerity in individual and public life can be better understood in our horror-filled times of pandemics and pandemonium. Many harbour the belief that man is paying the current price for his insincerity and irreverent attitude towards Mother Nature. We have witnessed heart rending accounts of black marketing, hoardings and brazen profiteering even in the peak of the pandemic! The goblins are perpetually at wait to pounce on the slight insincerity and unawareness on part of man. The ‘animal-man’ in man often seems to have a clear dominance over his ‘man-animal’.

But the cost of any such insincerity is very high in sadhana. Those masquerading as yogis and seekers and secretly nurturing in their minds the demons of lower nature are bound to pay a very hefty price. The Mother cautions:

“If you are not sincere, do not begin Yoga. If you were dealing with human affairs, then you could resort to deception; but in dealing with the Divine there is no possibility of deception anywhere. You can go on the Path safely when you are candid and open to the core and when your only end is to realise and attain the Divine and to be moved by the Divine”

(CWM, Vol. 3, p. 5).

One walks on a double-edged sword if one is not sincere enough on the pathless Path. As humans we have very limited and time-bound powers. Most of our sublime energies are frittered away in dallying with frills. There are temptations galore at every sight and in all directions. Only the sword of sincerity can play our sheet anchor, our ultimate succour. We are living in the age of real barbarity and ‘artificial intelligence’ in which algorithms have more value than eight billion humans! Each day the debris of human swagger crumbles around with a resounding sound and yet man is not ready to acknowledge his shallow limitations, his colossal insincerity.

A better, lasting and more effulgent tomorrow will be possible only through spiritual dawns. Let us hope against hope that this hopeless time shall nourish and nurture the seeds of buoyancy, beauty and sincerity in her bosom.


~ Graphic design: Beloo Mehra

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