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Perception, Conception, Sensation



  • It is conception first and perception next, but as most of us have the subtle perception in life, my title has inverted the order.
  • We can use a book like The Life Divine in innumerable ways. Here is one.
  • Conception is two-fold. One is the intellectual conception which is like geographical knowledge entirely devoid of fullness or feeling or any other semblance of reality. The other is a higher conception which belongs to the pure mind divorced from sense impressions. In reading a story full of emotions we feel a certain reality which is emotional reality. The conception here is higher than the one of intellect which is itself higher than emotion.
  • Reading a story emotionally, sometimes, we learn more than what the intelligence or intellectuality can instruct. This is so because emotions, though they are lower than the intellect, cut into being deeper, and touch what is real to life.
  • When we explain gravitation to one who is not a school going student and to one who is a little educated, we see that to one person it is hollow and to the other it is meaningful. Here the concept touches the reality to a limited extent.
  • There is a difference in a layman's grasp of law and that of a retired judge. To the latter, law is more than a concept. It is no mere information.
  • Sri Aurobindo's explanation of Brahman gives us such a concept which is concrete to something inside. That something in the mind is not the sense mind, but the pure mind. The pure mind - Sri Aurobindo uses the term in his earlier writings - when it is full, touches the Supermind.
  • To conceive of the Absolute in this way as something concrete to that insubstantial part of mind which is itself subtle, is the first step in the process I wish to explain.
  • That is best done by knowing that the Absolute is something that is nothing out of which everything emerged. By trying to know the Absolute this way and applying it to acts of ours - great successes that happened to us in spite of us - the concept begins to take shape and take a firm hold.
  • That done, the inconceivable is conceived.
  • To extend it further and to tell ourselves that, that Absolute is ourselves, deep inside, is to give a greater concreteness to the concept.
  • There is one further crucial step. We know that when we act, we act through our hands and feet or mind. It is clear that it is not the body that acts, but the mind. So also it is not the mind but the Spirit. Further, it is not the Spirit but the Absolute, That.
  • Should that become real, the concept of Reality is real.
  • One will feel entirely different by now and feel he is a changed person in every sense and the Reality is no more a word or explanation but a Real Concept that is concrete in the pure mind inside.
  • Sri Aurobindo presents this Reality through other arguments also. Those arguments too should become in our minds a concrete concept in the pure mind.

They are,

1. Life is an ocean of energy.

2. Its interest in us is real.

3. The Solar system and the anthill have the same Brahman behind.

4. Quality is an illusion, Quantity is an illusion.

5. Sound and Silence, weakness and strength, and affirmation and negation are the same.

6. Energy is infinite.

7. Energy in repose is Existence.

8. Infinite Existence is the Absolute.

  • One must take the trouble to make the above and a few other arguments of His, real concepts.
  • We see this extends to the next chapter and the previous chapter.
  • The Jnana Yogi of Purna Yoga must travel on both the sides of Chapter 9, to the two ends of the Book, to receive His ideas of each chapter as a valid concept.
  • There is no question of such a person complaining that The Life Divine is unintelligible.
  • The same process can be explained for perception and sensation.
  • Sensational appreciation is pure yoga.
  • While this conception will endow the reader with a complete grasp of the knowledge of this book, the sensational experience will complete his yoga.
  • However, by acquiring the same knowledge as he went through the process of concept formation in the formation of perception, the knowledge will become power in life, while knowledge becoming power in the body is transformation.
  • One can meaningfully attempt the formation of perception only after acquiring the concept.
  • But these are bypaths, for those who love to ramble.
  • Completing concept formation in one Idea -The Absolute - he can pass on with great difficulty to make that concept into a perception, that is, make it emotionally felt.
  • That is an incomplete process, as one who has dropped out of school enters politics or the public life to taste power or wealth and sometimes succeeds. To a dropout, it is a life success. It is an abortive effort.
  • There are those who after years of knowing Mother have not done anything. For them to achieve something in some measure will still be satisfying. They may try this.


Perception and Sensation


  • A power descends on readers, whether it is a class or an individual when a passage from Sri Aurobindo is read.
  • This is sensation.
  • When the Absolute was explained, a lone listener  thrilled for some time at first. The concept at that moment crosses the perception to become a sensation.
  • Such a sensation is felt in the soul which was open at that moment. The sensation I speak of is that, when what was felt in the soul moves down to the physical consciousness.
  • In any chapter as we read along, a passage will touch our emotions, going beyond the concept formation. It is a spiritually significant moment for the reader. It is a movement in his soul's emotion. If only he can stay there and extend that perception to the entire chapter, he would gain the fruits of several births. In fact, for a patient effort, patient in the spiritual sense commensurate with the work on hand, that beginning will spread over the entire book.
  • As perception and sensation are so wide and deep, even those who do feel them are unconscious. All that they can feel is summed up in, "It was very nice, really very nice, an uplifting feeling."
  • As this is a new territory and there is no community or population that meets this description, no new vocabulary has developed to precisely indicate them, distinguishing one from the other.
  • The sea of concepts developed by the Master is too wide to be absorbed for a discriminate appreciation. The question of extending them to fresh zones of individual experiences does not arise, is not on the horizon.

story | by Dr. Radut