Importance of Discipline
Without discipline no proper work is possible.
Without discipline no proper life is possible.
And above all, without discipline no Sadhana is possible.
One begins to be a man only when one aspires to a higher and truer life and when one accepts a discipline of transformation. For this one must start by mastering one’s lower nature and its desires.
It can be said that all discipline whatsoever, if it is followed strictly, sincerely, deliberately, is of considerable help, for it makes the earthly life reach its goal more rapidly and prepares it to receive the new life. To discipline oneself is to hasten the arrival of this new life and the contact with the supramental reality.
One can do nothing without discipline—the whole of life is a discipline.
To discipline one’s life is not easy, even for those who are strong, severe with themselves, courageous and enduring.
But before trying to discipline one’s whole life, one must at least try to discipline one activity, and persist until one succeeds.
Digestion, growth, blood-circulation, everything, everything is a discipline. Thought, movement, gestures, everything is a discipline, and if there is no discipline people immediately fall ill.
Sweet Mother, Could you write something on discipline for us?
Discipline is indispensable to physical life. The proper functioning of the organs is based on a discipline. It is precisely when an organ or a part of the body does not obey the general discipline of the body that one falls ill.
Discipline is indispensable to progress. It is only when one imposes a rigorous and enlightened discipline on oneself that one can be free from the discipline of others.
The supreme discipline is integral surrender to the Divine and to allow nothing else either in one’s feelings or in one’s activities. Nothing should ever be omitted from this surrender—that is the supreme and most rigorous discipline.
Maintaining the Discipline
That is quite necessary for work; efficiency and discipline are indispensable. They can, however, only partly be maintained by outward means—it really depends in ordinary life on the personality of the superior, his influence on the subordinates, his firmness, tact, kindness in dealing with them. But the sadhak depends on a deeper force, that of his inner consciousness and the force working through him.
It [disciplining the subordinates] has to be done in the right spirit and the subordinates must be able to feel that it is so—that they are being dealt with in all uprightness and by a man who has sympathy and insight and not only severity and energy. It is a question of vital tact and a strong and large vital finding always the right way to deal with the others.
Mother, what should be done in a class when a child refuses to conform to a discipline? Should he be left to do as he likes?
Generally speaking, above the age of twelve all children need discipline.
Some teachers believe that you are opposed to discipline.
For them, discipline is an arbitrary rule that they impose on the little ones, without conforming to it themselves. I am opposed to that kind of discipline.
So discipline is a rule which the child should impose on himself. How can he be led to recognise the need for it? How can he be helped to follow it?
Example is the most powerful instructor. Never demand from a child an effort of discipline that you do not make yourself. Calm, equanimity, order, method, absence of useless words, ought to be constantly practised by the teacher if he wants to instil them into his pupils.
The teacher should always be punctual and come to the class a few minutes before it begins, always properly dressed. And above all, so that his students should never lie, he must never lie himself; so that his students should never lose their tempers, he should never lose his temper with them; and to have the right to say to them, “Rough play often ends in tears”, he should never raise his hand against any of them.
These are elementary and preliminary things which ought to be practised in all schools without exception.
Freedom and the Discipline of Concentration
But what is very important is to know what you want. And for this a minimum of freedom is necessary. You must not be under a compulsion or an obligation. You must be able to do things whole-heartedly. If you are lazy, well, you will know what it means to be lazy. …You know, in life idlers are obliged to work ten times more than others, for what they do they do badly, so they are obliged to do it again. But these are things one must learn by experience. They can’t be instilled into you.
The mind, if not controlled, is something wavering and imprecise. If one doesn’t have the habit of concentrating it upon something, it goes on wandering all the time. It goes on without a stop anywhere and wanders into a world of vagueness. And then, when one wants to fix one’s attention, it hurts! There is a little effort there, like this: “Oh! how tiring it is, it hurts!” So one does not do it. And one lives in a kind of cloud. And your head is like a cloud; it’s like that, most brains are like clouds: there is no precision, no exactitude, no clarity, it is hazy—vague and hazy. You have impressions rather than a knowledge of things. You live in an approximation, and you can keep within you all sorts of contradictory ideas made up mostly of impressions, sensations, feelings, emotions—all sorts of things like that which have very little to do with thought and … which are just vague ramblings.
But if you want to succeed in having a precise, concrete, clear, definite thought on a certain subject, you must make an effort, gather yourself together, hold yourself firm, concentrate. And the first time you do it, it literally hurts, it is tiring! But if you don’t make a habit of it, all your life you will be living in a state of irresolution. And when it comes to practical things, when you are faced with—for, in spite of everything, one is always faced with—a number of problems to solve, of a very practical kind, well, instead of being able to take up the elements of the problem, to put them all face to face, look at the question from every side, and rising above and seeing the solution, instead of that you will be tossed about in the swirls of something grey and uncertain, and it will be like so many spiders running around in your head but you won’t succeed in catching the thing.