3: Kapila’s Instructions to Devahuti
At the beginning of the attempt of spiritual practice, the sense organs feel a deficiency and an incapacity of an incomparable nature. There is a dark cloud hanging in front of us, and light will not be there in the earlier stages. The reason for the darkness in front of us—the opposition of ugliness and terror at the very outset—is due to a reaction set up by the dissatisfied senses which have not been given their fill by the objects of sense. The poison, therefore, is created by a circumstance of repulsion between the sense organs and the actual things which exist in the world. That repulsion has to gradually cease by facing it completely. We have to face that condition.
Our attempt at spiritual practice is not a smooth movement as if on a paved road. There is opposition from the world. In the beginning, it will be opposition from human beings only. Afterwards, nature itself will oppose. That is the second stage of opposition, and it is much greater than the problems created by people in this world. When nature itself has a feeling that we are trying to overcome it, it will present a phenomenon which is difficult to describe. First it will be an arena of tremendous temptation, and then an arena of war, threat and terror, in various forms.
This dual feeling which the gods and the demons had when they churned the ocean is actually the churning of life itself; that itself the ocean. Our whole life is like a sea before us whose essence has to be extracted by the churning rod of our own mind in concentration. Within us are the gods as well as the demons—the Jekyll and Hyde, as they are called. They join together and want to have the best of things in the world; they churn life.
The opposition from nature is the reason why there is a feeling of discomfiture in the beginning. A poisonous gas comes, as it were, which is all opposition from every source. There is body ache, mental ache, dissatisfaction, a feeling of distress in everything, and finally collapsing because of the power nature has, with which we have not properly acclimatised ourselves during our life in the world.