–by Pavithra Mehta (Nov 08, 2019)
Dr. V firmly believes that action motivated by love exerts a force and organizing power of its own. He makes the cultivation of unconditional compassion for all beings a daily goal—a Dalai Lama-esque endeavor not always easy to pull off. In an early journal entry, he detailed the petty dynamics that can hijack a doctor’s best intentions, before diving into a stream-of-consciousness meditation on the nature of the mind:
You feel drawn to a patient because he’s from your village, known to you, and then you try to do your best for him. But at times, a patient is aggressive and demands some privileges. He says “I know what my trouble is. I do not want to go through all the formalities. Could you see me first?” This upsets you, and with that feeling of annoyance, you treat him. You are not able to disassociate him from his mental or emotional aggressiveness.
Somebody asked Ramana Maharshi [a renowned Indian saint] what he felt when he saw any person. He said, “When I see somebody, I see his soul and I worship it. It may be clouded by ignorance, meanness, selfishness, greed, jealousy, hatred, but I can see the love in him.” If you could develop that attitude and not react to a person’s defects, and try to help his inner being, you will automatically do your best for him. To do this you must bring into your own being silence, calmness, and quietude. This needs constant practice. It needs enormous practice to realize the experience of silence in you. You may have it occasionally, and then you hanker for it. It seems to elude you. Your being is accustomed to agitation and it wants it. I can feel it every day, moving in me. I want to live in silence but something else in me wants excitement and runs for it. It feels perhaps the more I get agitated, then the more hard I work. So I shout, give commands to people around me. You aspire for calmness and peace and you want to love all, but to express it is not easy.
Gradually get out of superficial consciousness and go deeper to meet the soul. Live in the soul and be guided by it. […]
Dr. V wants to be able to see with incisive clarity into the heart of people, problems, circumstances, and most of all himself. He is keenly aware of how unguarded patterns of the mind can form into habits and cloud his line of sight, and he understands the constant effort required to transcend those patterns. In Integral Yoga, an inner poise and self-awareness is the foundation on which you build. As a young surgeon, Dr. V began to use his day-to-day work to sharpen these qualities. To him, this was not an intellectual exercise but one that required operating from the soul—a word that typically comes loaded with religious connotations.
Though the soul is commonly interpreted as the spark of divinity within each being, in Sri Aurobindo’s framework, it can also be defined in nontheistic terms as the inner center that holds each individual’s highest evolutionary calling. It is the seat of what he called “true being,” and it is from here, he maintained, that a power and wisdom arises that sees perfectly in every instance what is, what must be done, and by what means to realize its ultimate purpose. These cues, he says, are typically muffled in layers of ego, conditioning, and negative tendencies. But through persistent aspiration and effort, one can encounter the presence of true being and increasingly dwell in it.
Dr. V found it an elusive but fulfilling residence. Today I had a nice experience of living in the soul, he recorded candidly. Experienced the richness of it and its persuasiveness over all. Not only did he begin to strive for this depth of being in himself, but he also aspired to connect with that part in others as well. Seek the soul of the person, not his money or power, Dr. V urged himself in his early journal entries. […]
Holding a vision for each person’s highest potential, whether employee, patient, or partner, shaped Aravind’s model in important ways. It created a density of interconnections that were built not on transaction but on trust. This is what first enabled the organization to see surgical assistants in village women, outreach advocates in indigent patients, and partners in its competition.
–by Pavithra K. Mehta excerpt from the DailyGood Live in Your Soul: 10 Insights from a Visionary. Also in “Infinite Vision, How Aravind Became the World’s Greatest Business Case for Compassion.” 2011. [Photograph from the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve]