Resignation is the outcome of the soul's evolution, for
it is the result of either love or wisdom.
Man has a free will, but its power is too small in comparison
with the all-powerful will of God which stands before him
in the form of more powerful individuals, or of conditions
which cannot be helped, or in that of many other things.
Resignation does not mean giving things up, resignation
means being content to give up.
To be resigned means to find satisfaction in self-denial.
That self-denial cannot be a virtue which comes as a result
of helplessness and culminates in dissatisfaction. The nature
of an unevolved ego is to resent everything that comes up
in life as a hindrance on his path to the accomplishment
of a certain object. When one accepts to become resigned
in the face of a difficulty, and when at the same time this
gives satisfaction, the resigned person, even without having
accomplished his object, has risen. In this way even a defeat
of a truly resigned soul, in truth, is success.
Resignation is a quality of saintly souls. It is bitter
in taste but sweet in result. Whatever be the power and
position of a person, he always has to meet with a more
powerful will, in whatever form it may manifest itself,
which in truth is divine will. By standing against the divine
will one may break oneself, but by being resigned to the
divine will one makes a way. For resignation is the manner
of water: if anything is standing in its way it takes another
course and runs along. It yet makes its way so as to meet
the ocean in the end. Such is the way of the saintly souls
who tread the path of resignation and yet keep self-will
alive. That will has the power to make its way. A person
who is resigned by nature becomes in the end a consolation
to the self and a happiness for others.
Resignation is not necessarily weakness, or laziness,
or cowardice, or lack of enthusiasm. Resignation is only
the expression of mastery over oneself. The tendency to
resign to the will of another or to conditions does not
always work to the disadvantage of the resigned one. It
may sometimes prove to be profitless, but the benefit of
such a virtue is realized in the end.
It is lack of power of endurance which is the cause that
souls are not ready to resign; they cannot endure their
pain, they cannot sustain their loss. The resigned ones
practice resignation even in small things of everyday life;
they avoid using the power of their will unnecessarily in
every little thing they do. Resignation is passivity and
it shows itself sometimes to be disadvantageous in the life
of an active person who has an object before him to accomplish.
But it may be understood that a continual activity, with
power and energy given to it, very often results in disaster.
Every activity is balanced by passivity. One must be active
when it is time to be active, and passive when conditions
ask one to be passive. It is in this manner that success
in life is attained and that happiness, which is the seeking
of every soul, is gained.
The truth of this can be seen in the life of the child
and that of the grown-up person. As soon as the child becomes
attracted to objects, it knows that it wants them, and if
it is denied an object the child is dissatisfied. As the
child grows with its evolution in life, it learns resignation.
That is the difference between an unripe soul and a soul
advanced in the path of wisdom; for the riper the soul the
more it shows in its nature the power of resignation.
Question: When should we be active and when passive?
Answer: Suppose a person goes on a bicycle in the streets
of Paris and says, 'I shall go straight on, because my object
is just to keep the line I have taken. If a car comes my
way, I shall not mind it, I shall just go on.' This person
will come against something which is more powerful than
he, and he will destroy himself. The wise cyclist, therefore,
will see that there is a vehicle before him, or that the
road is blocked: he will take another way. At the time it
is just a little hindrance, yet that resignation makes him
safe from disaster and gives him a chance to strike another
line by which he will come to the same destination.
Very often people who are strong-headed will not be resigned,
and often they will find in their lives that, by not being
resigned, they get what they want. That gives them proof
of the beneficial nature of their strong-headedness – which
means their lack of resignation. But what happens in the
end? Their own power sometimes strikes them so hard that
it breaks them to pieces, because there is no passivity.
Man after all is limited, and there is an unlimited power
before him. If he always wishes to fight, he must of necessity
break himself. There is the saying: Man proposes, God disposes.
If man is conscious of this, he will know when to try and
make his way, and when to strike a different way.
Question: In the Bible it is said: If a person wants
you to go one mile with him, go two miles.
Answer: Resignation is self-denial. In our everyday life
it may happen many times that we meet with people who say
something which hurts our feeling, and we wish to answer
back. It is a natural tendency which expresses itself spontaneously.
However, if at that time our wisdom is awakened, we ask
ourselves, 'Is it necessary to answer? And if we did not
answer?' That is becoming resigned to the will of God. Spontaneity
is just giving the answer, but when kindness comes, or the
feeling that perhaps the other person did not understand
us, or that he had a little more experience than we, it
restrains the tendency to speak back, and this is mastery.
It is bitter for the time, it shakes one: that force which
wanted to express itself is controlled. But by being able
to sustain it, one has gained a certain mastery over oneself.
Question: in your example one just stops for a moment,
but mostly in life this resignation means going quite another
Answer: Both are possible. By resignation is only meant
to be resigned to one's own wisdom, to one's own feeling
of kindness and dignity, or to be resigned to the person
whose will perhaps is better or greater.
Question: There are natures who develop the contrary
Answer: Very often we give unnecessary strain to our
will and this exhausts us very much. It is consideration
which is wanted. Every day there are many cases of this
which we can avoid by not using so much will power to resist