On to the path to know oneself!

In one of his numerous letters to his disciples written in answer to their queries, Sri Aurobindo says, “What is meant in the terminology of the yoga by the psychic is the soul element in the nature, the pure psyche or divine nucleus which stands behind mind, life and body (it is not the ego) but of which we are only dimly aware. It is a portion of the divine and permanent from life to life, taking the experience of life through its outer instruments (i.e. mind, vital and physical body).

  “People do not understand what I mean by the psychic being, because the word psychic has been used in English to mean anything of the inner mental, inner vital or inner physical or anything abnormal or occult or even the more subtle movements of the outer being, all in a jumble; also occult phenomena are often called psychic.

  “The psychic part of us is something that comes direct from the Divine and is in touch with the Divine. In its origin it is the nucleus pregnant with the divine possibilities that supports this lower triple manifestation of mind, life and body.

  “There is this divine element in all living beings, but it stands hidden behind the ordinary consciousness, is not at first developed and, even when developed, is not always or often in the front; it expresses itself, so far as the imperfection of the instruments allows, by their mean and under their limitations. It grows in the consciousness by Godward experience, gaining strength every time there is a higher movement in us, and, finally, by the accumulation of these deeper and higher movements, there is developed a psychic individuality, – that which we call usually the psychic being. It is always this psychic being that is the real, though often the secret cause of man’s turning to the spiritual life and his greatest help in it. It is therefore that which we have to bring from behind to the front in the Yoga…..”

  The Mother in answer to the question:   “Are the soul and the psychic being one and the same thing” says thus: “This depends on the definition you give to the words. In most religions, and perhaps in most philosophies also, it is the vital being which is called “soul”, for it is said that “the soul leaves the body”, while it is the vital being which leaves the body. One speaks of “saving the soul”… but all that applies to the vital being, for the psychic being has no need to be saved! It does not share the faults of the external person; it is free from all reaction.”

  Sri Aurobindo says: “What is meant by (the psychic’s) coming to the front is simply this. The psychic ordinarily is deep within. Very few people are aware of their souls – when they speak of their soul, they usually mean the vital + mental being or else the (false) soul of desire.

  “The psychic remains behind and acts only through the mind, vital and physical wherever it can. For this reason the psychic being except where it is very much developed has only a small and partial, concealed and mixed or diluted influence on the life of most men. By coming forward is meant that it comes from behind the veil, its presence is felt already in the waking daily consciousness, its influence fills, dominates, transforms the mind and vital and their movements, even the physical. One is aware of one’s soul, feels the psychic to be one’s true being, the mind and the rest begin to be only instruments of the inmost within us.”

  The Mother says:  “In the ordinary life there’s not one person in a million who has a conscious contact with his psychic being, even momentarily. The psychic being may work within, but so invisibly and unconsciously for the outer being that it is as though it did not exist. And in most cases, the immense majority, almost the totality of cases, it is as though it were asleep. Not at all active, (it is) in a kind of torpor.

  “In almost, almost all cases, a very sustained effort is needed to become aware of one’s psychic being. Usually it is considered that if one can do it in thirty years one is very lucky – thirty years of sustained effort, I say. It may happen that it’s quicker. But this is so rare that immediately one says, “This is not an ordinary human being”. That is the case of people who have been considered more or less divine beings and who were great yogis, great initiates.”

  The Mother says:  “In rebirth it is not the external being, that which is formed by parents, environment and circumstances – the mental, the vital and the physical being that is born again: it is only the psychic being that passes from body to body. Logically, then, neither the mental nor the vital being can remember past lives or recognize itself in the character or mode of life of this or that person. The psychic being alone can remember; and it is by becoming conscious of our psychic being that we can have at the same time exact impressions about our past lives.”

  She says: “In various times and places many methods have been prescribed for attaining this perception and ultimately achieving this identification. Some methods are psychological, some religious, some even mechanical. In reality, everyone has to find the one which suits him best, and if one has an ardent and steadfast aspiration, a persistent and dynamic will, one is sure to meet, in one way or another – outwardly through reading and study, inwardly through concentration, meditation, revelation and experience – the help one needs to reach the goal. Only one thing is absolutely indispensable: the will to discover and to realize. This discovery and realization should be the primary preoccupation of our being, the part of great price which we must acquire at any cost.”

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