Sacrifice the Beast in You
Swami Chidananda: “The Sadhak’s task is, therefore, to first and foremost entirely eradicate all that is gross, all that is animalistic, brutal and beastly in his nature. These qualities have to be thoroughly overhauled and taken out of his nature. After this process is done, the transformation of the human nature has to be taken in hand and it has to be sublimated, and transformed into a higher divine nature. It is precisely this study of man as a composite being containing the lower animalistic nature and then the human nature endowed with discrimination, consciousness of higher ideals of a noble divine purpose of this human birth upon this earth, and the capacity to actually rise up into a higher divine consciousness—it is this study of man and this knowledge of the nature of man that has led to the conception of the animal sacrifice as also the Narabali which later on became degenerated into the actual outward practice of sacrificing animals at the altar of Mother Kali.
“What was an idealistic conception to symbolise a certain inward process in man’s spiritual life later on became externalised in a degenerate form in the shape of the practice of animal Sacrifice. For what the animal sacrifice to be done to the deity Kali symbolised was the invoking of this divine power in Its destructive aspect as Durga or Kali, within the personality of the seeker so that this divine power may work within the aspirant and completely annihilate the beast within the man. This sacrifice of the lower self of the seeker, of the animal nature of the Sadhaka is what is achieved by Mother Durga or Kali in the first stages of an aspirant’s Sadhana-life.
“To this end, the aspirant has first to analyse and try to ascertain what are the prominent aspects in which the animal side of his lower nature has its play in his present personality. One may be a slave to anger more than to anything else; another lust, to carnality; and a third one to some other aspect. One may find several aspects are dominant in his lower personality and holding him slave. It may be that at different times different passions get the upper hand. He has, therefore, to first of all introspect, analyse himself and try to find out what particular manifestation of the gross lower Gunas are operating within his nature. A sincere study of one’s own nature is absolutely indispensable to the Sadhaka.
“Unless he knows what is there in him that is undesirable, inimical to success in Yoga, that stands as obstacle to Sadhana, it is not possible for him to proceed correctly upon this difficult inward Path of Yoga. More difficult is it because these dark aspects of the gross part of man’s nature, of the Tamo-Guna are not always clearly expressed and visible within himself. Far more easy it is to fight the external foes, because you know what they are and their nature and strength so that you can meet them on their own level. The inner enemies of man—anger, lust, jealousy, hatred, cruelty, etc.,—have various forms and are invisible; they are cloaked under various disguises and unless the seeker invokes the grace of Antaryamin or the Indwelling Presence of the Divine in him, to aid him, it will be a difficult task for him to proceed with this process of destroying his lower, selfish, egoistic nature.
“To analyse another person is an easier matter because you can observe his outward behaviour, etc., but this self-analysis is a very difficult task—first, because of the basic extrovert tendency of the human mind—it tends to go outward to the objects of the universe and to make it go inward is itself a delicate task; secondly man is prevented by the ego-sense from finding out and knowing what is defective, what is bad, that which is not gratifying to the ego. It is common experience that that which is not pleasant to the ego is hidden from its gaze. Therefore, it is difficult of self-analysis, and this is one of the reasons why in the Eastern mode of spiritual life the aspirant is asked to go and submit himself to a Guru.
“He approaches the Guru, surrenders himself to the Guru and tries to live with the Guru so that the defects and undesirable qualities within him which he will not be able to perceive by his own efforts, by his own study of himself, can be easily perceived by the Guru and then the Guru puts the aspirant in such situations where he will be able to overcome these defects and also sometimes gives him such tasks where the eradication of these qualities becomes absolutely necessary; and he may also give the aspirant specific instructions and where necessary even admonish him so that these hidden defects, hidden to the aspirant but not hidden from the gaze of the Guru, its destruction becomes facilitated. Thus the Guru also fulfils to a great extent the role of Mother Kali in helping the aspirant to destroy the vicious tendencies and evil traits that are the stumbling blocks in the very first stages of one’s spiritual life.”