November 12, 1957
The integral yoga is made up of an uninterrupted series of tests that you must pass through without any advance notice, thereby forcing you to be always vigilant and attentive.
Three groups of examiners conduct these tests. Apparently they have nothing in common and their methods are so different, at times even so seemingly contradictory, that they do not appear to work towards the same goal, and yet they complete one another, they work together for a common aim and each is indispensable for the integral result.
These three categories of tests are: those conducted by the forces of Nature, those conducted by the spiritual and divine forces, and those conducted by the hostile forces. This latter category is the most deceptive in its appearance, and a constant state of vigilance, sincerity and humility is required so as not to be caught by surprise or unprepared.
The most commonplace circumstances, people, the everyday events of life, the most seemingly insignificant things, all belong to one or another of these three categories of examiners. In this considerably complex organization of tests, those events generally considered the most important in life are really the easiest of all examinations to pass, for they find you prepared and on your guard. One stumbles more easily over the little pebbles on the path, for they attract no attention.
The qualities more particularly required for the tests of physical Nature are endurance and plasticity, cheerfulness and fearlessness.
For the spiritual tests: aspiration, confidence, idealism, enthusiasm and generosity in self-giving.
For the tests stemming from the hostile forces: vigilance, sincerity and humility.
But do not imagine that those who are tested are on one side and those who test on the other; depending upon the times and circumstances, we are both examiners and examined, and it may even happen that simultaneously, at the very same moment, we are the examined and the examiner. And whatever benefits we derive depend, in both quality and quantity, upon the intensity of our aspiration and the alertness of our consciousness.
To conclude, a final recommendation: never pose as an examiner. For while it is good to remember constantly that perhaps one is passing a very important test, it is, on the other hand, extremely dangerous to imagine oneself entrusted with applying tests to others, for that is an open door to the most absurd and harmful vanities. It is not an ignorant human will that decides these things but the Supreme Wisdom.
Each time a progress is to be made, there is a test to pass.