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Sri Aravindam

Sri Aravindam


Great men think of the world. Great souls think of creation. They grapple with the theories of creation in their minds. Those questions do not occur to us, ordinary men. The Life Divine was written to those whose minds are racked by the eternal questions about the Origin of creation. As those questions are not there in our minds, the answers make no mental impact on us. This is one of the reasons for The Life Divine being unintelligible or incomprehensible.

There is a greater, more valid reason. The writings in this book do not belong to the sphere of our lives or our mental lives. Our minds are used to intellectual ideas or propositions, but here are issues that are meant for intuition, not intellect. Sri Aurobindo has rendered truths of intuition to the grasp of intellectual approach, an effort to which the world is new. We have always taken the ideas of the mystics as mysterious. He tries to present us the same mystery in our terms, hence the difficulty and hurdles.

By understanding the construction of this book, the lines along which Sri Aurobindo lays out the arguments, the significance he wishes these arguments to reveal, the terms he employs, and by unravelling the knots that appear in the arguments, there can be substantial help to the reader.

While He was writing in the Arya, subscribers wrote to Him asking Him what was the subject of His writing and requesting Him to write a synopsis for each chapter. He wrote ten such synopses.

Let us start with His construction of the Book, which He Himself provided. In the first book, He explains how the Brahman became the universe. When He ventured to explain the cause for this creation, He tells us that the Absolute - Brahman - desired Delight. Delight is to be had through discovery. The greater the difficulty in discovery, the greater will be the Delight. The greatest Delight will be there in Self-discovery, especially when HE forgets Himself. With this end in view, the Brahman hid Himself within Himself and forgot the fact that He had reversed Himself by Self-absorption into the universe. Sachchidananda has inverted himself into the lower triplicity of this world of ours and at the end of involution, HE forgot that He, the Sat, had become Matter. Now is the challenge of remembering his forgetting and emerging out of Matter. The Delight He seeks is in the emergence.

The methods HE uses are Self-conception, Self-limitation and Self-absorption. In the process of Sachchidananda and Supermind reversing themselves as the lower triplicity and the psychic, Spirit changes into Matter and the 12 aspects of the Spirit change into their opposites. For the purposes of creation, one of them stands out.

                Knowledge became Ignorance in involution and in evolution.

                Knowledge emerges from Ignorance.

So, in the second book entitled "Knowledge and Ignorance - Spiritual Evolution" He describes the hiding and the emerging.

As against the belief that Spirit is immutable, He offers us His theory of Spiritual Evolution, that the Being in the Becoming - Spirit - evolves in the ascent. For this spiritual evolution to take place in human life, He explains man has to be born again and again. Hence, rebirth is inevitable.

When we have in mind the stages of involution and evolution where each aspect of Spirit has to become the opposite, much of the usual difficulties met with in reading The Life Divine are overcome.

One example will illustrate to those who read the comparatively easy first chapter, whose central them is contradictions are complementaries. These statements are clear by themselves but we do not see why they are given here.

He says that the six attributes of the whole into which the evolving universe has to end are Unity, Truth, Knowledge, Power, Goodness and Love. Each of them in the descent of involution loses its basic character step by step, and when the involution is complete, these attributes regain in the ascent step by step their original status.

Thus, Unity goes through the further stages of union, harmony, reconciliation, conflict and contradiction as follows in different planes:               




















We now see how contradiction appears and why it should gradually change into unity.

He takes a serious look at the tradition and sees four loose ends. It appears He wrote The Life Divine to answer those four great points. Beyond this, He has nothing to do with the tradition. It is His own yoga whose foundations He lays down in this book, as

  • Man's best knowledge is the partial knowledge of mind.
  • His full knowledge is arrived at when he reaches Supermind.
  • Brahman has always remained ONE, united and never for a moment has He not had His Unity.
  • Division, pain, and Ignorance are not in creation, but they are there only for the divided being - ego - whose term is over.
  • Man is on the surface where he is divided and his yoga so far has been the yoga of the surface mind and ego.
  • His full being is there below in the subliminal and the leader of the evolution, the psychic, is there too.
  • Moksha is no goal, transformation is.
  • Spirit, which is known to be immutable, is, He says, mutable. It evolves through many human births. Hence, rebirth.
  • Man is not the end. The next species of the supramental being will be on earth by man's rising to the supramental plane and the Supermind descending on earth.

The psychic, the surface being, subliminal, ego, ethics, Time, Space and several other items have a wide spiritual significance. Knowing them as they should be known removes the obstacles in reading.

Sri Aurobindo takes the extraordinary intellectual effort to explain the knowledge of intuition to reason. For this purpose, He explains the origin, construction, constitution, functioning of the Spirit, Sachchidananda, Supermind, Mind, Life and Matter. These explanations that are philosophical and abstruse are given a practical turn. They will become intelligible if one is patient enough to keep track of the steps of the argument He builds.

In this booklet I have dealt with only the obstacles I faced in reading.               

                                                                                                The Author

Sri Aravindam

The advent of Sri Aurobindo on the spiritual horizon of the world is a new age. It is the age of the Supermind. Essentially it is the beginning of the recognition that the age of mind is over and the future is for the Supermind. It is seen as,

                Turning away from moksha towards transformation.

  • One part of the being, the Spirit, leaving man for its origin, is moksha.
  • All parts of the being allowing their spiritual element to surface for transformation is the order of the day.

Man who has so far been functioning from the mind has foisted on the world of his perception and the Absolute, the inability of his own mind and attributed to them the traits of being a part. The truth is, the world is a whole, God is indivisible, Life is complete and all are Absolute in being relative, which is seen only by the Supramental vision which man has not yet acquired.

Sri Aurobindo draws our attention to the above fact throughout the book The Life Divine. Many people feel it is difficult to understand the book because they approach it from their minds to which it refuses to reveal its ideas. His essential Ideas arise in the conceptions of Reality, creation, Maya, the agent of creation, Spirit, Mind, Life, Matter, the individual, Jivatma, Ego, the One, the Many, the Vedic view, etc.

In the following pages I have attempted to state the two different ways of the tradition and that of Sri Aurobindo regarding the above aspects of spirituality, emphasizing the view that would help the reader.

It is important for the reader to know Infinity not as a theoretical concept, but as a concrete conception of practical reality, for him to enter into the spirit of His writings.

So far, life and Spirit have been confined to the surface being. Sri Aurobindo takes them to the depth where the psychic is buried. He calls it ‘Being of the Becoming'.

Life is a whole, Spirit is a whole; let us not dissect them by our mind. Let us restore them to their original unity.

The salient points that are to be taken note of are:

1) Mysticism lends itself to rational explanation.

2) Man's best instrument, mind, is partial and he needs to raise himself to an instrument of full vision, the Supermind.

3) Mind sees partially, but perfectly within that part, and believes it to be the only truth. It goes on to deny other views.

4) It takes the part as the whole.

5) Tradition has not conceived of man evolving into the next species.

6) It perceives the conflict in life as well as the Spirit and identifies with one side.

7) Sri Aurobindo declares that the profoundest method of Nature is to present the one view as two contradicting views, so that the conflict will allow a richer whole to emerge out of it. At the origin of creation this is seen as Sat and Asat and at the bottom as conflicts in life.

8) This basic difference is reflected all along as

  • Matter is opposed to Spirit.
  • Brahman is ineffable.
  • The Individual is no entity.
  • Maya is illusion.
  • Creation is by the mind.
  • Karma is inescapable.
  • Absolute and relative are opposites.
  • Ego is the individual.
  • Life is limited and has to be shunned.
  • We have no right to know creation.
  • Moksha is the highest desirable goal.

Sri Aurobindo whose perspective has changed from Mind to Supermind, has the very opposite to speak of. He says,

  • Matter is Spirit.
  • Brahman can be explained.
  • The Individual is the Eternal.
  • Maya is an instrument of creation, not illusion.
  • Creation is by the Supermind.
  • Karma is not binding.
  • The Absolute is the relative.
  • Ego is not the individual but the Purusha.
  • All life is yoga.
  • The theory and process of creation are known.
  • Transformation is the goal, not moksha.

To know how far one understands Sri Aurobindo, some ideas can be suggested to those in yoga or life.

  • Clarity of conception helps advance yoga and it is directly felt as Force in the system.
  • Those outside yoga in life will be able to see their correctness of comprehension as effectivity in life, i.e. accomplishment.
  • Neither the Force felt in the system nor accomplishment in life indicates the non-comprehension of the concepts.

Structure of The Life Divine

Book One  -- Omnipresent Reality and The Universe

Book Two  --The Knowledge and the Ignorance - The Spiritual Evolution

Part I    -- The Infinite Consciousness and The


Part II   -- The Knowledge and The Spiritual


He has conceived of this book and constructed it as He has described above. His basic assumption is the world is not created by an extra-cosmic Deity, nor is life Supra-Cosmic or terrestrial, but God, whom He calls the Omnipresent Reality, has become the world. He did so because He wanted to hide within Himself and enjoy the play of finding Himself.

To hide Himself within Himself was a necessity because there was nothing but Himself. The process of hiding was by self-absorption. Because He is Infinite, it behoves Him to change into His opposite, the finite. To achieve the purpose of hiding, He needed to lose his Freedom little by little until it was fully lost. He could do so because His freedom was one of totality that could not deny Him the right to lose it. He lost it entirely until He became inert Matter, where He has forgotten the very fact that He is in hiding.

To remember the fact that He is in hiding is the first joy and to emerge out of it as knowledge from Ignorance is the joy of evolution that He was seeking.

The process of losing Himself is the process of creation. The very first step He takes is to emerge from the unmanifest state into manifestation. This He does by Self-Conception and Self-limitation. He emerges into a limited Existence as a Self-Conscious Being. As He descends into creation, later He has to ascend by evolution, for which a provision needs to be made. He starts presenting the ONE indivisible in the divided two as Being and Non-Being or Existence and Non-Existence.

The act of dividing in creation must be reversed into an act of union in evolution. He then conceives of extensions in two directions. One is He begins to lose the other freedoms by acquiring further limitations. Thus, losing the freedom to be Existence without being conscious of Himself, He becomes consciousness, and then wishing to sense Himself, He becomes Ananda. Thus, Sachchidananda comes into existence. Sachchidananda desiring to comprehend Himself changes into Supermind. Supermind is also described as the Nature of Sachchidananda. By Nature, it is meant that Supermind is the objective state of Sachchidananda.

Book I explains in 28 chapters the creation of Mind, Life and Matter from Sachchidananda. This is explained as the higher quaternary inversing themselves into the lower four as,


reverses as              



reverses as              



reverses as              



reverses as              


    Before He arrives at this in the ninth chapter, He dwells on the fact of Nature presenting the one in two contradictions. The Individual and the Universe, Spirit and Matter are so treated in the earlier chapters. The first chapter speaks of this principle and describes the other contradictions between Mind and Life, Life and Matter and Mind and Supermind. He also touches upon the eternal contradiction between the ego and Sachchidananda.

The first part of the Second Book dwells on how knowledge emerges out of Ignorance. In the last part of the book He explains the process of evolution of the Spirit, not from Ignorance, but from Knowledge.

The reader's comprehension will be vastly helped if he sees the sequence of the chapters and their rationale. Often it is not easy. To be able to see it as He conceived in the context of the structure of the book enables one to appreciate the contents better.

The Superconscient, Cosmic Consciousness and Transcendent

  • The Superconscient is the involved opposite condition to that of the Inconscient.

The three parts of it are the spiritual mind range, the supramental and the pure spiritual being.

It is created by the Transcendent.

  • In the Cosmic consciousness, Being and Consciousness are the same.
  • The Transcendent is the Supracosmic.

This creates the subconscient, conscient and the Superconscient.

Process of Creation - Methods

  • Self-conception, Self-limitation, Self-absorption, objectivity, subjectivity, dividing, energising, force creating forms, forms creating sensation, double opening of evolution, double opening that forms the Many out of One, extension, putting out powers as nature.
  • All planes are one; all methods are one.
  • Planes and Methods are after all ONE.
  • Self-absorption is by self-conception and self-limitation.
  • Movement is method, repose is the plane.

His basic theme is, the Absolute has become the Universe. Hence the above conclusions issue from it.

  • Self-conception - As HE is the ALL and the ONLY one, He alone can conceive. Hence it is called Self-conception.
  • Self-limitation - As He cannot be ordered from without - there is no without - He limits Himself. Hence, Self-limitation.
  • Self-absorption - He can hide only within Himself. Hence it is Self-absorption.
  • Objectivity - Consciousness extending outwardly.
  • Subjectivity - The consciousness extending itself inwardly is subjectivising. Time and Space are the subjective and objective extension of Consciousness.
  • Dividing - Mind divides the Force until they are reduced to atoms.
  • Energising - The knowledge of the Mind working on its will energises the will to create a plane of energy known as Life.
  • Double opening - The mental psychic rising and descending simultaneously is one example of double opening.

The Being, the One, dividing itself into the Many and going back to its unity is the secret of creation. This is another example.

  • All planes are one. The substance in all planes is the same with varying densities. They are all one in essence, but different in density of substance or intensity of energy in organisation. For example, Silence is there in all planes but is felt differently. In the material plane, Silence is absence of activities while in the mind it is absence of thought.
  • All methods are one - Self-absorption is self-conceived. Thus both are the same.
  • Planes and methods are one - Mind is a plane. Thought is its activity or method of functioning. It is easily seen that thought, when it is silent, becomes the plane of mind. Movement is method. Repose is the plane.

The Four above which became the Four below









Sat becomes conscious, enjoys its bliss, knows itself as power of Force and knowledge, splits itself into the Timeless and Time planes, creates a subordinate power of Mind which loses its knowledge on its will to create the plane of life and losing all knowledge and all movement, turns into inert Matter.

Mind, life and body have mental consciousness, vital consciousness and physical consciousness. Below the consciousness there is substance in all planes. As Sat precedes Chit in descent, Chit is below Sat in the ascent.

Creation of Spirit

Sat objectifies itself as Satyam, Truth. That which relates Sat and Satyam is Spirit. Spirit is Substance, called spiritual substance. Mind can see Spirit. It can see only through its senses. The Spiritual Substance appears as material substance to the mind through the senses.

Matter is spirit seen by the mind through its senses.

Sat is Existence.

It is a Being.

It is the first manifestation.

It can become conscious, if it chooses.

It chose to be conscious, therefore there is conscious-ness.

Consciousness gives out Force.

It is called Consciousness-Force.

It can sense itself if it wants.

It senses itself as Ananda.

Not wanting to sense itself, it becomes again consciousness.

Consciousness not wanting to be conscious becomes existence again.

Existence not wanting to exist goes back to Brahman.

As Sat objectifies itself as Satyam, consciousness objectifies itself as knowledge and Ananda objectifies itself as Infinity, anantam.

  • Going further, if Sachchidananda wants to comprehend itself, it becomes Supermind.
  • Supermind is called the Nature of Sachchidananda.
  • HE calls the next stage or the objectifying stage as Nature.


Sat -- Existence

Chit - Consciousness

Ananda - Bliss




Satyam  -- Truth

Jnanam -- knowledge

Anantam -- Infinity

 Supermind is Truth Consciousness. Supermind is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity. Supermind is called the Nature of Sachchidananda. Sri Aurobindo calls the next stage Nature as Prakriti is the Nature of Purusha.

 There are two levels of Supermind:

  • 1. Comprehending Supermind - (Timeless)
  • 2. Apprehending Supermind - (Time)

Creation must express the Timeless in the plane of Time. Hence the Apprehending Supermind places the working of the ALL before the ALL.

 Mind is created between the two.

 Mind is created to divide.

 It divides the Force on the Being, not the Being.

 It carries its division until it reaches the atom.

 Beyond that, division changes in the reverse direction to aggregation.

 Mind has knowledge and will.

 Knowledge works on will.

 This releases the energy of the will.

 In the process, knowledge loses part of itself.

 The energy so produced is the plane of life.

 When knowledge loses itself fully, life becomes matter.


Knowledge                                                                              Will


                                       The plane of Life

Unity to Contradictions



















Lila is the Brahman losing itself fully. One version of it is the Unity of Sat diluting itself through union, harmony, compromise, and conflict to reach contradiction in Matter, from where it can travel back in the reverse order to its origin.

The unity we describe here is the unity Sat has. But at this stage, the principle of Nature that presents the ONE as the contradiction of the two is in evidence when Brahman is split into Sat and Asat.

Ignoring Asat, even in Sat there is that unity which dilutes itself into contradiction in Matter.

The first chapter of The Life Divine starts with this theme, but the first five chapters deal with the other contradictions of Matter and Spirit; Universe and the Individual. The 7th chapter on Ego presents to us the basic contradiction of Soul and the Ego.


The Eternal Infinite exercising its prerogative of being able to do anything of its choice, chose to seek Delight. Discovery gives delight. The greater the discovery, the greater is the delight. The Absolute seeking the maximum possible delight, decided on Self-discovery, having forgotten the fact that it lost itself. Therefore, it absorbed itself into its opposite until it became oblivious of itself.

  • So, Man is God who has forgotten himself.
  • The Delight He seeks is in the knowledge that emerges from the Ignorance.
  • The methods He has employed in that process are Self-conception, Self-limitation, Self-absorption, objectification, division, energizing, putting forth Forms out of Force.
  • Mind seeing Sat sees only Sat and takes it as Sachchidananda. It is unable to see Chit or Ananda. It sees the world as Maya and denies the realisations of Prakriti as well as Lila.
  • Equally so, Mind can see Chit and declare the world as Prakriti and deny the other too.
  • Lila itself is such a partial conception of those who have seen only Ananda and not Sat or Chit.
  • From the Supermind, one sees Sat, Chit and Ananda as a triune existence and finds Lila, Maya, Prakriti are coexistent conceptions.

 Sri Aurobindo's Supramental vision of Sachchidananda has set at rest this eternal dispute. The entire difference arises from seeing from the Mind or seeing from the Supermind.

Creation of Matter

This can be explained in more than one way, as was done above.

  • 1) Mind seeing the Spirit through the senses sees the Spirit as Matter. Matter is thus created.
  • 2) Mind creating Life by allowing its knowledge to work on will loses some knowledge while the resultant energy thus created becomes the plane of life. The mind continuing to work thus sees all its knowledge is lost when it becomes Matter.
  • 3) Two unshaped Forces meeting each other create a Form which becomes Matter.

The above are all simple versions of the complex theory in the book The Life Divine, written here in the hope of introducing the reader to the original.

Spiritual Evolution

The world does not have a valid theory of creation. Students of evolution may examine the existing theories in Asia, Europe and Africa. In a world where thought has travelled up to the evolution of forms, Sri Aurobindo espouses a theory of evolution of consciousness. Readers of The Life Divine are vaguely aware of these concepts. At least in the first reading, they do not look for it in the book, whose essential theme is the evolution of Spirit.  The book explains itself more fully when the theme in the background is better grasped. It is this theme that enables us to appreciate the significance of His amazing statement that Ignorance is the highest product of creation. Briefly stated, His Idea is,

The unmanifest Eternal, in search of Delight, became Inconscient Ignorance so that the delight of emerging out of that condition as knowledge may be enjoyed. In this process, the Being creates Spirit to turn into Matter eventually releasing itself from it. The Spirit of Knowledge changes into the Spirit of Ignorance to re-emerge, which is a process of evolution of Spirit.

As Spirit changes into Matter, the twelve fundamental spiritual determinants too change into their opposites (as light changes into darkness). In this journey, there are other stages to be covered. They are:

  • The planes of existence move from causal to subtle to gross.
  • Mind passes through these stages of subliminal gross mind, inner mind, surface mind.
  • The Being takes on three different poises, viz. God, Jivatma and Ego.
  • Knowledge acquires seven levels of Ignorance, viz. Original Ignorance, Cosmic Ignorance, Universal Ignorance, Temporal Ignorance, Psychological Ignorance, Constitutional Ignorance and Practical Ignorance.
  • The ONE becomes the Many without a barrier of separative consciousness, a change from all is all to each in all and all in each.

Man becomes the centre of this play where his body is the field of Spirit and that field is maintained by innumerable births so that the evolving Spirit will complete its evolution. Indians as well as others recognise the phenomenon of rebirth. Christian theology offers the human soul one birth to prepare for heaven or fall into hell. Rebirth, whose validity is seen in Indian thought, is not rationally explained either by the Mayavadins or by the Rishis of the Upanishads. Sri Aurobindo also calls His yoga "the Yoga of Spiritual Evolution."

On seeing this thread of insight the Book, its parts, chapters and contents suddenly acquire a clarity in the minds of the readers who found themselves buried in a maze of philosophical concepts.

The Universe

Those who seek moksha or liberation ignore the existence of the universe. Evolution must be along the path of descent. The One became the universe before it became the Individual and so the Individual should ascend in evolution through the universe.

The Individual is the ego. When he sheds the ego, he is ruled by the determinism of the Nature of the universe. As long as he is in ego, which is the field of Nature, Nature's determinism rules him. Entering into the immobile, immutable Silence, he goes out of the universe which is an expression of Nature. The cosmic determinism of cause and effect is beyond it. He can become the pure being when he transcends the cosmos.

The yoga of Sri Aurobindo, therefore, stipulates that the Individual must first fulfil himself in the universe before he consummates himself in the pure Self.

  • The universe fulfils itself in the individual.
  • The individual fulfils himself in the universe.

Surface Mind

The evolution of knowledge emerging out of Ignorance finds its climax or crux in the surface mind. In this sense, the surface mind is the acme of existence. He says all significant ideas arise only here.

  • The surface mind is composed of four other components of Time, ego, finite and mind.
  • Just below this is the inner mind, which is wide or vast and subtle, but not spiritual.
  • Manomaya Purusha and the door of Nirvana are here in the inner mind.
  • It leads to the subliminal mind where the psychic dwells in a cave.
  • The surface mind acts intellectually, uses the faculty of reason and is fed by the senses.
  • The subliminal registers all events, even outside the range of the senses`.
  • The subliminal is the result of the meeting of the superconscient and the subconscient.

Time and Space

  • The universe is held by these two planes of Time and Space.
  • Time measures duration.
  • Space contains movement.
  • Both are extensions of consciousness.
  • Time is the subjective extension and Space the objective extension.
  • The Being is beyond Time and Space as well as subjective-objective relationship.
  • Both the planes exist in Force, not in Being.
  • Time-eternity and Timeless-eternity meet in the Being of Becoming, which is the psychic being.
  • Eternity is the common term for Time and Timelessness.
  • The Eternal is the Timeless.
  • The Infinity is the Spaceless.
  • The comprehending Supermind is in the Timeless dimension.
  • The apprehending Supermind is in Time.
  • Mind is born between them.
  • The infinity is the opposite of the finite while there is the Self-existing Infinity, which is not the opposite of the finite.
  • Similarly, Eternity too is Self-existing.
  • It is said, says Sri Aurobindo, that in the beginning there was the Eternal and Infinite.


  • In the finite plane of human life there are the opposites of good and evil, light and darkness, etc.
  • Above in the higher planes exist Goodness, Light, Bliss, etc. that are self-existent and not related to any opposite. They are the Good, Light, Infinite, Eternal which do not depend upon their opposite for their existence.
  • Shadow needs light for its existence, but light does not need the shadow for its survival.
  • We call them self-existent Goodness, Light, Bliss, etc.
  • Sri Aurobindo speaks of the boundless finite.
  • The infinity we know of in life and mind is the opposite of the finite.
  • The Absolute cannot even be described by Eternity and Infinity, but the sages have said that in the beginning there was the Eternal and Infinite. If we are permitted to encroach into the domain of the Absolute with words then, they are the Self-Existent Eternity and Infinity.

Positive and Negative

  • They are concepts of mind, but not in reality.
  • Negative denotes what positive has left out.
  • There cannot be a whole that excludes either of them.
  • If man is good and bad, it does not mean we can divide him into two. He is an indivisible ONE.
  • What the mind dissects for purposes of understanding is not really separable.
  • One is a father, husband, and brother. He is not in three parts. They are his three functions.
  • We like and dislike.
  • What we like today, we may dislike tomorrow.
  • The earlier we realise this truth, the quicker we will know the whole.
  • Human evolution moves from the part to the whole, not from one part to another.
  • What we discard today, we have to seek later is an irrevocable rule.

At times of crisis, danger and great opportunities, man finds this true. Rather, the opportunity comes through the negative part. The danger of this can be averted by refusing this partial attitude. The secret of His yoga, particularly in life, lies in seeing it and accepting it with wisdom.

  • His evil persona is perhaps unique to His own philosophy.[1]
  • The shortest route to luck is to practise it.


  • Sri Aurobindo's theory is God has become the Universe.
  • So, God's work must necessarily be the most efficient.
  • We find that cyclones, earthquakes, floods and wars caused by humans create havoc and the waste is obviously enormous.
  • He says there is no waste in Nature.
  • Sachchidanandam is characterized by Unity, Truth, Goodness, Knowledge, Power, and Love.
  • In our world only one principle can work at one time.
  • As one principle is at work at one place, all the other principles are subconsciously preparing for expression.
  • Nature initiates at all points simultaneously and works apparently at one point.
  • Energy spent on all other fronts appears to us as waste.
  • When the results show up at one point, all the other points also yield results simultaneously, having been at work subconsciously all the time.
  • One truth of life and Nature lost sight of is that subconscious work can suddenly erupt into action with ready results
  • At such times we say, 'It is lucky that everything fell into place.' This shows our unconscious appreciation of the RESULTS.
  • When any war is won or an alliance of marriage is settled or any great work comes to consummation, no wise man misses this aspect.
  • But wisdom is a puny power for becoming conscious of Nature's method and employing it.
  • The saying, ‘The darkest hour is before the dawn' has this experience behind it, as the whole dawn was prepared by this darkness.
  • In an automatic textile mill, the whole factory stops when a single thread snaps. Are we to note the WASTE or appreciate the technological efficiency that has linked all parts?
  • A butterfly in China determines the course of events in Paris.
  • Nature has coordinated and further integrated the gross, subtle, and causal forces and determines the whole by the part, while lending the efficiency of the whole to each part.
  • Suppose a study is undertaken of world history from this point of view, the dictum of Heraclitus on war will bear out.
  • Had there been no world war, the world could not have progressed this much.
  • The hippie movement, the successive recessions in the US, the Japanese competition, the Russian Revolution of 1917 can be understood in this context.
  • Computer has supplied the SPEED necessary for the transition.
  • Internet is making information available.
  • Internet is also offering subtle knowledge unconsciously.
  • Money supply and movement has increased beyond conceivable optimism, thus making one field an instrument.
  • Bush in office is a SYMPTOM of success, a negative symptom.
  • Education is next only to yoga, but it still remains unattended.
  • The elderly population in good health is a mental resource that prevents inhibiting physical activity making the mind more fully resourceful.
  • The world that is enamoured of technology is least aware of the mental technology that education is. No work is being done here and no thought of this possibility is there anywhere.
  • Still, in spite of this preoccupation with the engineering technology and the neglect of educational technology, the ORGANISATION is growing like grass under our feet as we see it in VISA.
  • The key lies far beyond, not even in the psychological individual, but in the Spiritual Individual.
  • Maybe the society will recognise him in time.
  • Would he accept the social discovery of his value and go in to find himself?

Sri Aurobindo realised the Absolute in the Physical

  • The yogi who attains moksha is called a realised soul.
  • We say he has realised his soul, which means he detached his soul from his being and succeeded in taking it to its origin.
  • Of the four parts, body, life, mind and soul, the soul realising means the soul realises itself as an entity.
  • Soul is the spirit in the universe.
  • Self is the Spirit in Transcendence.
  • The Absolute is the Transcendence or beyond the transcendent Self.
  • We know of Mind very clearly.
  • Mind learns, functions, exists, as we know.
  • Can we say Mind has realised itself?
  • Suppose the emotions have come fully under the control of the Mind or the mind in the emotion begins to think as Mind thinks, we can say Mind has realised itself in the emotions.
  • The body learns what the Mind teaches. It writes on its own subconsciously. Do we say the Mind here has realised itself in the body? No.
  • When the body can act without the intervention of the Mind, i.e. if the hand knows a pen is a pen without the mind's instruction, then we can say the Mind is realised in the body.
  • The soul realising itself outside the embodied being is different from the soul realising, say, in the mind.
  • So far the Absolute has not yet been attained by anyone except partially by the mind in trance.
  • Trance is unconsciousness.
  • Mind cannot know anything fully, much less the Absolute.
  • Sri Aurobindo realised the Absolute fully in the waking consciousness.
  • This is an ascent whose significance can be seen only when we know that Raja yoga itself is not so wide as the Gita's yoga, which is of the Overmind.
  • The ascent becoming the descent is part of Sri Aurobindo's yoga.
  • When the yogi rises to the Higher Mind there will be a descent not only into his mind but into his other parts of being as well, the vital and the body.
  • This descent is not part of other yogas.
  • Sri Aurobindo speaks of two levels of consciousness and substance in each plane.
  • So, the descent must reach the substance of the body to complete it there.
  • Mother said when Sri Aurobindo spoke She saw the sound strike against the floor, transforming the floor, supramentalising it.
  • Sri Aurobindo realising the Absolute in his body explains itself, in this background, not as a further step to the known yogas, but as a world apart, leaving the achievements of others far behind.

Sri Aurobindo's Surrender

  • Surrender here is NOT submission.
  • It is NOT compelled from external situations but one which issues out of a self-choice.
  • It gives the end result in the beginning.
  • It converts grace into Super Grace.
  • From Time, Surrender takes one beyond Timelessness to the simultaneous integrality of Time and Timelessness.
  • In some way, surrender summarises all that is meant by His yoga, perhaps because one emerges into Self-awareness from self-forgetfulness, touching the Delight of Self-discovery.
  • It is done by the Being in the ego, thus fully dissolving ego. In that case, it must reveal the cosmic self and lead to the Origin, destroying practical Ignorance.
  • In surrender, one hands over his practical Ignorance or the practical knowledge he has to Mother, which destroys all the seven Ignorances at once.
  • Surrender is a method by which the ego realises itself as Jivatma that is Paramatma.

The Fundamental Spiritual Determinants

There are eight fundamental Spiritual determinants each of which rests on a triad of three, thus making 24 of them in total. Sri Aurobindo says all actions in the world are determined by them and their interaction.

 Sat       -- The three aspects of Sat are Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara.

Chit          -  Knowledge and will are its aspects.

Ananda - Beauty, Love and Joy are the three aspects of Ananda.

This can be said differently. Mind sees Sat as Brahman, Chit as knowledge and Ananda as Beauty.

Overmind sees Sat as Purusha and Ananda as joy.

Supermind sees Sat as Ishwara and Ananda as love.

As knowledge splits into knower, knowledge and known, when each of the above is split, 24 determinants are created.

The 12 Aspects of Spirit

Peace, Silence, Truth, Goodness, Knowledge, Power, Beauty, Love, Joy, Infinity, Eternity, Unity



Structureless Existence



Absence of Thought and Absence of Acts



Objective state of Existence.



Combination of Truth and Knowledge



Consciousness in the plane of Time



Will in Time



Ananda seen by the mind



Soul seeing Bliss



Nerves experiencing Ananda



Beyond Space



Beyond Time`



Unity of substance different from union of consciousness


Fundamental Negating Positives & Fundamental Affirming Positives

It is the essential indeterminability of the Absolute that translates itself in our consciousness as the fundamental negating positives of our spiritual experience and fundamental affirming positives.

1. The immobile, immutable Self

1. The Self that becomes all things (the essence and source of all determinations and the dynamic essentiality)

2. The Nirguna Brahman

2. The Saguna Brahman

3. The Eternal without qualities

3. The Eternal with infinite qualities

4. The pure, featureless One Existence - One

4. The One who is the Many - Many

5. The Impersonal

5.  The infinite Person who is the source and foundation of all persons and personalities.

6. The Silence void of activity

6. The Lord of Creation, the Word.

7. The Non-being

7. The Master of all works and action -- Being

8. The Ineffable

8.  That being known, all is known

9. The Unknowable

9.   "        "         "        "       


The Rishi stations himself in the Overmental plane and tries to see the Absolute. He sees either the positive or negative side according to his personality. Taking the spiritual realisations from the tradition, Sri Aurobindo describes the seven ways in which the Absolute was seen on either side. Each person saw one of them and asserted his realisation as the only, final one and could not see the other spiritual possibilities on that side itself. There is no question of anyone seeing the OTHER side. That is the characteristic of Mind, like the villager in 2000 A.D. who feels the pre-eminence of his village life, caste superiority, orthodoxy and the great privilege of not being polluted by urban education and its appurtenances.

One thing that is interesting here is Sri Aurobindo shows for each aspect that the other side is truly complementary in the very opposite terms of contradiction. The ineffable and the unknowable on one side, He says, is the same that another Rishi saw on the other side as the thing, knowing which, everything can be known.

In his theory of Lila where the Absolute hid itself by self-absorption, there is room for the ONE to be split into two opposites and for man not being able to see the other side. This provides for an evolution of the two, discovering their complementary nature and uniting in the one whole of which they are parts.

The Psychic, Jivatma

This is a yoga of spiritual evolution. Starting from Matter, the hidden spirit in it gains evolutionary experience by its movement in the process of generating life and collects its spiritual experience at the psychic centre, which is tangible only in the Mind. Starting from there, the yogi goes up and down to complete its experience through the journey.

Evolution is to find the hidden Sat through the dynamism of Chit by the leader of it, viz. the psychic. So, He says that the body is the Delight of being tempting the hidden consciousness to find the secret godhead.

  • The psychic being is NOT jivatma, but its evolving deputy in Nature.
  • It starts as psychic consciousness, becomes an entity, rises above and descends below at the same time.
  • It is located behind the heart.
  • Going above, it travels through the ranges of spiritual mind, which is spiritual transformation.
  • It reaches the Supermind to become Ishwara.
  • Going below, it becomes the vital psychic and the physical psychic.
  • The physical psychic becomes the supramental being when it touches the physical substance.
  • It can give moksha or lead to evolution.
  • Psychic being is in Prakriti, where Time-eternity and Timeless-eternity meet.
  • He calls it Being of the Becoming.
  • Jivatma is in the plane of Timelessness.
  • Manomaya Purusha, a portion of the Jivatma is in the inner mind.
  • Devotion was born with Krishna, not before.
  • Tradition takes Jivatma as one, which dissolves in Paramatma having no individuality of its own.
  • Sri Aurobindo says Jivatma is eternal and he is himself Paramatma.
  • Sankya speaks of one Prakriti and many Purushas.
  • Sri Aurobindo says there is only one Jivatma as well as one Prakriti.
  • The universe created several points of the soul's intensity to fulfil itself. Each one is a Jivatma.
  • The Jivatma does not evolve.
  • Annamaya Purusha, Pranamaya Purusha, Manomaya Purusha, Vigyanamaya Purusha and Anandamaya Purusha are the portions of Jivatma.



Sri Aravindam

1. Can attain it, can't explain

1. Can be fully explained

2. Indeterminable

2. Has self-determination

3. Self-contained Being

3. Has principles and Truths and Powers

4. Not relative

4. World is Brahman

5. World is its Lila

5. Lila is for Delight

6. All-negating Absolute

6. Is an Absolute that is relative

7. Dwells sufficient to itself in its immobile delight

7. Seeks delight in emerging from its opposite

8. Solely a Force resting in inactive sameness

8. Must have endless powers of its being. Must have endless truths of its own self-awareness.

9. Don't ask, accept creation

9. Creation is self-manifestation. Every possibility is a truth in the Absolute.

The One and The Many

There is nothing in the world the Rishis of old did not know. But they knew them as parts. Having no instrument to see the whole, the whole could not be seen. So, when the question arose of how the Many came out of the ONE, how Prakriti was created by the Purusha, and how the world was created, the Rishis enjoined on us that we did not have the right to raise that question. Sri Aurobindo says this was a right retort. But He went on to answer that question.

The Being puts out the Force through Consciousness. The Being and the Consciousness are indivisible wholes. The Force lends itself to division. The Mind divides it. Creation is for Delight. The Delight is there in emerging from hiding. The ONE hides in the Many and seeks the Delight of emerging out of it. The ONE is the Being, the Many are the Becoming. The ONE is the Purusha, the Many, Prakriti.

The ONE loses itself in the Many but is unable to discover its oneness in the Many so it goes back to the ONE to recover the Oneness. This is the secret of creation, He says.

But the soul in the Becoming - the Being of the Becoming - namely the psychic being, does not have that difficulty, as it never loses the oneness. Oneness is an ever-present experience in the psychic being, the evolving spirit.

The ONE is in Timelessness. The Many are in Time. Both are partial. The Timeless eternity and Time eternity meet in the evolving part of Time where both are integral. The psychic being belongs to this plane.

  • Brahman, creation, Life are always ONE. They are wholes which never become parts.
  • Our mind SEES them as parts and creates confusion.
  • When we see Brahman, creation or Life from the Psychic, they retain their integrality. The problem lies in our view, not in the thing itself.

Reason minus sensation is Intuition










Finite, relative, One, Silence, mutable, Time, personal, Manifestation, Self and nature, Being, Individual, Form and their opposites are all parts or partial expressions of the One.

Time - Becoming

Timelessness - Being

Simultaneous Integrality - Being of the Becoming

Four Ideas on which The Life Divine rests

1. Reconciling One without a second with ‘Sarvam Brahman,' All is Brahman.

  1. God is known in the descent and not in the ascent.
  2. The scientist does not know his field as fully as the Sannyasi knows Spirit.
  3. Aryan balance.

Ego, Purusha, World-Being, Transcendent

  • Ego makes the Many possible from the One.
  • Cosmic self reveals itself when Ego dissolves.
  • Ego is in the Force, not in the Being or consciousness.
  • A tearing sound is heard when the physical ego goes.
  • Ego is formed by self-affirmation of the vital.
  • Ego's ethics are not ethics.
  • Ego can usurp any plan to dissolve it.
  • Let Shakti come to you by dissolving the ego. Ego cannot then usurp it.
  • So far, all realisations are egoistic realisations.
  • Ego belongs to the surface.
  • Ego is coordinating intelligence.
  • Ego is reason.
  • The Gods have ego.
  • The senses are the creation of the ego.
  • Ego is the poise of Supermind in Ignorance.

Bliss and Delight

  • No distinction can be seriously made but He speaks of static Bliss and active Delight.
  • Delight of Being and Delight of Becoming are terms He uses.
  • Sachchidananda has its Bliss static and it expresses it in the objects when it becomes active Delight.

Practical Concept of Infinity,

Concrete Concept of Infinity,

Boundless Finite

Infinity of space and eternity of Time are two related concepts. As all life is covered by Space and Time, Infinity cannot stretch beyond.

Complete minus complete = complete is the formula the Upanishads offer about Infinity. As Time is a concept for the metaphysician, Infinity is not a known concept in life. It is there in mathematics and metaphysics.

The nearest we can think of in life to infinity is kamadhenu and karpagavriksha, which are myths. One thing that we can rationally use is knowledge, which is infinite when we take it out, rather, it grows as we draw upon it.

Infinity is different from the boundless finite.

The capacity to refuse to be finite is infinity. Can we have a practical concept of it? Our very basis is infinity and therefore it becomes necessary.

As matter, life, mind and spirit are at the base infinite, though life and matter do not behave like that, we must have an idea of that concept. Water drawn from a well which goes back into it through another route can be inexhaustible, but will not qualify for infinity. What grows by what it feeds on can be infinite. Solar energy is inexhaustible but mind's knowledge and the vital's interest grow by every expenditure. Our own minds must have a PRACTICAL concept of Infinity to appreciate the infinity in creation.

When the concept of Infinity conceived by the thinking mind (No. 1) is fully accepted by the physical mind (No. 3) in its substance, the concept will become a reality.

In life this phenomenon exists. One who physically works long hours with enthusiastic interest is known to release far more energy than he is used to, as we witness in the candidates during the Presidential elections in the US. This offers an example of the principle that the greater the energy spent, the greater the energy released by the body. The phenomenon in mind needs no arguing, as it is known that the mind releases more energy when it is exercised more.

Problems in life or health are symptoms of not enough energy for the level of life now lived. Level of sugar rises when the energies  of the body are not absorbing all the sugar taken in. Problems in your family or office rear their heads when your energies are not equal to the demands made on it.

One can make a practical experiment on his health or problems on the following lines.

  • 1. A clear conception of the IDEA that there exists a concept of Infinity at all levels of existence, viz., spiritual, mental, vital, physical should be formed.
  • 2. A forceful application of this principle to the experiences of life in every possible area and a CONCRETE grasp of the process by which more and more is generated. Raising the level of expectation leads to a revolution of prosperity is the observation of an American thinker. This is a universal phenomenon witnessed all over the world now, particularly in India. It occurs as follows:
  • Man perceives he wants more comforts.
  • His perception is creative of human energy.
  • To meet his greater demands he strains himself and his resources to the utmost and initiates the first move.
  • This positively disturbs the economic equilibrium creating a quantity of work equal to how much the man strained himself.
  • The buoyancy in the market is responded to by credit agencies.
  • This cycle has a two-fold result -- higher income generating sector comes into existence, and higher wages.
  • A virtuous cycle is released and comes to stay.
  • An extension to the productive sector is given at the earliest opportunity. The economy booms.

In personal problems of work or health, the process is the same but works inwardly on the person's psychology.

  • Present problems are the result of lack of energy released by the system.
  • He who tries to understand this concept of Infinity as concretely as possible moves the thought of the thinking mind to his physical mind.
  • This idea energises the physical system.
  • In the ascending scale of body to spirit, body is less efficient than mind and releases less energy than mind.
  • In the descending scale of Spirit to body, body is more efficient and releases far greater energies than the mind.
  • The conceptual mind releases more energy than usual on accepting this new idea.
  • When the idea moves to the physical mind, it releases far more energy than one can imagine. In fact, it can release infinite energy.
  • The excess energy handles the problems whether domestic or health problems.

Creation of Force, Form and Sensation

  • Force issues out of consciousness as the power of knowledge-will.
  • When an unformed Force meets another, a Form is created.
  • Form meeting Form creates sensation.
  • Sensation is consciousness.

Commonalty, Individuality, Essentiality

  • Pearl and diamond are His examples.
  • Knowing their individuality, we can use them
  • Knowing their commonalty, we can make them.
  • Knowing their essentiality, we can transmute one into the other.


  • When Intuition dwells on the Becoming, Time is created.

Absolute and the Relative

  • There is no inherent contradiction.
  • They coexist or exist in each other.
  • The Absolute retains its absoluteness in some way all the time.


Eternity is the common term between the Timeless and Time.


  • It is not ethics that applies different rules to different situations.
  • Infra, supra ethics. What is common to all is the satisfaction of force.
  • Delight of Being becoming Delight of Becoming is what happens.

Man has double consciousness

  • Verticality
  • Modern astrologer

Man standing on the globe is horizontal. He knows it in his consciousness. He wants to feel that he is vertical, which he does in spite of this clear knowledge. Sri Aurobindo says man has the capacity to have a double consciousness but is fully capable of acting on one of them. The modern astrologer knows that the earth goes round the sun, but practises the science of astrology that is based on the opposite theory that the sun goes round the earth. This capacity to have two consciousnesses and act on one of them is there in man.


  • Part is greater than the whole when the part contains the transcendent.


  • There is no illusion in the world, but there is Ignorance.
  • Dream is real.
  • Hallucination does see only objects that are there.

Spiritual Wisdom

  • Man foists his inability on the Absolute.
  • One who experiences a great spiritual truth can deny another's spiritual experience without knowing anything about it.
  • One may know all the parts without knowing the whole. He may even know their sum without essentially knowing it.
  • Any inquiry left off in the middle will return on us with greater force later.
  • Mind knows its own analysis, not what it analyses.
  • Division carried on to the end changes into aggregation.
  • Science is the result of reconciling the vital and the mind.
  • Mind ruling the body is a greater truth than the body ruling the mind. Spirit ruling both is a far greater truth.
  • Mind can conceive of possibilities, can see the actualities, but is unaware of the Supramental imperatives in-between.
  • There is nothing negative. What is not expressed by the positive is negative.
  • Moving to Non-Being without losing hold of Being, one moves into That which includes both - the Absolute Brahman.
  • The universe fulfils itself in the Individual. The Individual fulfils himself in the universe.
  • Life takes the physical sensation to the Mind, changes it into thought and lets that thought dominate the body.
  • The Absolute enjoys a Freedom which includes the freedom to lose it.
  • The Absolute is indeterminable, not in the sense that it cannot determine, but it is not bound by any determination.
  • The evolution of forms leaves gaps which have to be covered by the theory of evolution of consciousness.
  • No man can help another and escape being punished by the beneficiary.
  • The only service man can do is to discover his soul and help others discover theirs.
  • Maya is not illusion, it is Ignorance.
  • Before Love descends, Power should arrive.
  • There is no pain in creation, as it has been created for Delight. It is only for the emerging ego.
  • The answer not available with the intellect is available at its origin, the consciousness.

Ideas, statements found in The Life Divine

  • Contradictions are complementaries.
  • Spirit will one day move matter.
  • Man, having two ideas, can act on one, ignoring the other.
  • Spirit evolves.
  • True happiness is when all parts are growing.
  • There is absolute justice behind partial justice or injustice.
  • There is no waste in Nature as She does several things at once.
  • It is matter that makes the fleeting Ananda permanent.
  • Matter is Sachchidananda.
  • Time and Space are inner and outer extensions of consciousness.
  • Man is important to the ALL. The ALL is not important for man.
  • The energy that goes to create strength and weakness is the same.
  • Quantity is an illusion, quality is an illusion.
  • The Force is anterior to the instrument.
  • Nature is conscious.
  • God has become the world.
  • Man is self-forgetful God.
  • Science is occultism.
  • Reason, giving up the senses, becomes intuition.
  • Ego is reason.
  • Karma does not bind the awakened man.
  • Thought can know the Absolute.
  • Ignorance is the greatest product of creation.
  • The Absolute is the relative.
  • The ego is a power of the infinite.
  • We do not know the process of creation.
  • Lila is for Delight.
  • It is the lower vital that seeks success and happiness.
  • Man's ethics are unethical.
  • We are NOT obliged to respond with pain.
  • Memory makes us insincere.
  • Faith is created by perseverance.
  • The scientist does not know his field as thoroughly as the sannyasi knows the Spirit.
  • We know God in the descent, not God in the ascent.

"Not an Intellectual Knowledge"

At the end of the chapter "Reality and Integral Knowledge" Sri Aurobindo makes this observation. In one sense it makes us feel it is not for us. What He says is fully true, but there are two things we need to consider seriously.

  • I. The Force of The Mother that envelops us.
  • II. His statement that realisation of the pranamaya Purusha - the vital being - is perhaps our first realisation.

There are other ideas of His which need to be examined along with these.

  • Purna Yoga starts at the mind, not the body as in Tantra.
  • This yoga is completed at the level of the body - Mother called Her yoga, the yoga of the BODY.
  • He has called His magnum opus ‘The Life Divine', not Divine Mind or Divine Body or even Divine Spirit.

Purna yoga, to achieve the greatest result by the shortest route assumes man to be a soul in the mind and starts the yoga there, unlike Tantra which considers man a soul in the body and starts there, taking a longer route. Sri Aurobindo asks for the Aryan balance attained in the body with the external physical environment to be restored at the Supramental level, skipping the vital, mental and the range of spiritual mind levels. It is a great leap. He calls ego ‘reason.' He explains the coordinating intelligence of the mind as ego, i.e. ego, reason and intelligence are synonymous. Just now in every advanced field of study, if one searches for men who will adhere to reason unswervingly, how many would he come across? Whether there would be 100 or 10 or even one is a moot point. A reputed scientist declares that for any serious scientific idea to be accepted by the community, it has to come from an eminent scientist. Whatever this is, it lends little scope to reason. In a world where reason does not yet rule in the most reasonable field, Sri Aurobindo announces the birth of the Supramental Being. If it proves anything, it speaks of the POWER of Truth He has brought down. We find surrender difficult, since surrender is to achieve this transformation.

The first realisation is vital because man lives in the vital fully, and not in his mind. The vital is life. Mother's Force is most felt in the vital when She answers our prayers. What we cannot intellectually acquire, the Force reveals to us vitally, while She answers our prayers. It is true that when the yoga is realised, this knowledge too will be spiritually realised.

But we need not wait for that grand consummation. The knowledge He speaks of in this chapter is offered to us all the time as Force. Those who see the incidence of that Force or its impact can make a beginning there. Should one fully comprehend the ideas of this chapter, and wish to practise them, he can make a beginning there.

The IDEA - The Being of the Becoming, the psychic being, inheres this knowledge.

The symptom we must look for - at this point, the finite life becomes infinite.

When one who understands this chapter practises those ideas in life, he will find his normal result expanding infinitely. What he needs and seeks will come to him in great abundance, which is a constant experience of the devotees. By learning the process of that happening, he learns this knowledge vitally. From there he can move to mental comprehension. What the partial intellect is incapable of acquiring, the vital can acquire in its fullness.

Steps in action:

  • Reading and assimilating the ideas of the chapter.
  • Choosing an action and doing it from the psychic centre. This means not thinking actively and acting in utter, great, inner calm.
  • Should the results overreach the target, know the inner conditions.
  • You will find them to be - unexpectant, calm, equal, silent.
  • You should establish these conditions in the mind and re-read the chapter.
  • You will see the intellectual obstacles moving and greater comprehension dawning as a beginning.
  • When the Ego agrees to stand aside during the reading, the quality of comprehension will move from the intellectual to the integral.         
  • Man gains an experience first and long afterwards, often very long after, he understands what he has unconsciously achieved earlier.
  • The tremendous development of the world still remains unexplained.
  • He knows how to build roads, start schools, etc. but has NOT yet known how all of them can be done in a planned way by forethought.
  • The chapter on ‘Reality and Integral Knowledge' gives that knowledge not as an integral possession, but as an intellectual possession.
  • The idea is to start with an "Intellectual Knowledge" and convert it into Integral Knowledge.
  • Integral knowledge has many elements like intuition, harmony, etc.
  • In an organisation, if it is one under one's control, let us try to set a goal for the organisation after arriving at a consensus. Consensus assures harmony. Let everyone work to achieve that goal.
  • When the goal is achieved, ordinarily it will have overreached the target.
  • Now that there is the result with us, it will be possible for us to study the conditions that made this result possible. They will be harmony, calm, cooperation, industry, discipline, etc.
  • In the light of this experiment and the experiences of this work, let us study the chapter for a better grasp of the ideas.
  • Intellectual knowledge through this route will become experiential knowledge, if not integral knowledge.
  • Use this knowledge in further works to perfect the knowledge.
  • Continuous experiencing of that intellectual knowledge and its becoming experiential knowledge will help the integral knowledge to emerge.
  • Supramental vision gives integral knowledge.
  • If that high goal is elusive, we can try to secure some constituents of it.
  • One fact is if seven or eight people are involved in work and I am in charge of it, I would know the facts related to me numbering five or six, while the total number of facts may be 55 or so.
  • A wider vision will let us know all the 55 facts, in which case the right result will issue.
  • Any result will be more than the target set.
  • I know only five or six out of 55 facts. If I can know all the 55 facts, surely the result will be successful.
  • But there is a way of using the 5 or 6 facts in such a fashion that the rest of 50 or 49 facts will cooperate, enabling me to secure the result.
  • One rule split into two halves can be mentioned. It is,

- during work no one should be rubbed on the wrong side by me.

- I should NOT rub myself on the wrong side particularly.

  • In other words, my maintaining inner calm and expressing it as outer cooperation will make the result issue.
  • This is a beginning.
  • In repeating the experiments, further dimensions can be added.

- Trying to know all the connected facts;

- Knowing the points of view of the other side.

- By continuously raising cleanliness, silence, harmony, and skill in work, one sees greater and greater results issuing.

  • Result will be a distraction. Put aside the result, study the process, learn the integral knowledge and look for the WHOLE of the work.
  • This work, like building a school, is part of the work of your organisation.
  • Try to see this work in a wider and wider light until the REALITY of this work stares you in the face.
  • The Reality is this finite work is really INFINITE in itself and a whole, while being a part of a wider social whole.
  • In the measure the work grows on you and you grow into the work, integration of consciousness takes place.
  • Aim at perfection of work, perfection of knowledge.
  • Sooner or later one will achieve essential knowledge, which has all the potentials of Integral Knowledge.

Thought Seeks the Absolute

  • Thought seeks the Absolute, intellectuality needs oneness, Sri Aurobindo says.
  • Thought is at all levels, even as every other Aspect is.
  • Thought is mind in action for understanding.
  • Higher mind understands by Silence without resorting to thought.
  • A wild stretch of significant sense can make thought the activity of the mental plane for its effective existence.
  • Each plane has its own activity that makes it effective. In that sense, it can be called the thought equivalent of that plane.
  • Thus, non-movement in matter, feeling in the vital, vision in the illumined mind, intuition in the intuitive mind, knowledge in the Overmind, determinism in the Supermind, Ananda, Consciousness and Existence in the respective planes are the respective attributes.
  • Brahman has no attributes, by virtue of being Brahman.
  • Thought that can conceive of a plane of no attributes thinks of the Absolute.
  • Partial thought cannot conceive of Brahman.
  • Complete thought can conceive and explain Brahman. That thought which can be used to explain Brahman is the thought in the mind that represents Brahman there.
  • Thought that sees Brahman incapable of manifesting in the world, incapable of determinism, that considers Brahman aloof is incomplete and cannot express Brahman.
  • Thought that sees Brahman capable of expressing in the world, capable of determinism, capable of FREEDOM is the thought that can express and explain Brahman.
  • Such a thought does not conceive of Brahman as a Void or Nihil, but consider the Void as one that contains ALL.
  • It is an all-inclusive thought available for an all-inclusive concentration.
  • Such a thought does not hanker after that which has left one on its own or was sent away because its role was over.

Iti, Iti; Neti, Neti

  • Brahman was approached by a positive affirmation and a negative affirmation.
  • Sri Aurobindo says that Brahman can be approached in many ways.
  • Any aspect of the Spirit - Silence, Peace, Eternity, Infinity, Unity, Truth, Goodness, Knowledge, Power, Beauty, Love, Joy - when perfected, will lead one to the Absolute.
  • Any act or aspect of life or matter if perfected and its perfection continued will end in the Absolute.
  • As these are the mental aspects of the Spirit or aspects seen by the mind, they are necessarily partial and cannot offer us a full vision of the Absolute.
  • "Iti, Iti" is a positive affirmation.
  • "Neti, Neti: is negative affirmation.
  • Neither is complete.
  • He who sees the Brahman - the Absolute - complete must be able to see it in manifestation also as the evolving Godhead.
  • That Absolute is not in Time nor in Timelessness but is in the simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless- eternity in the plane of Time.
  • It is in the subliminal plane where the psychic dwells.
  • When a new object like a clock or pen or plane is invented, it cannot be described positively by any object known to man. One cannot point out any object then existing to say that the clock is like that. A clock cannot be likened to a tree or a pot or even a cart.
  • If it cannot be positively likened to something, it cannot be negatively described saying it is NOT this.
  • The new cannot be explained by anything old we know. Nor can the whole be positively or negatively confirmed by the part or parts.
  • A man who is an employee, father, son, husband, friend, and tenant is a complete man, which includes all of these and more. Even the sum of all these parts cannot make up the man who is a person endowed with a personality and a whole and who will continue to be a WHOLE.
  • Mind sees the sections. It is meant for dividing. It cannot see the whole of any object or concept much less the Brahman, the Absolute.

Logic of the Infinite - Vision of the Whole

The book The Life Divine pleads for the vision of the whole, which is not given to man. Is there a way of getting at least a glimpse of it? Or a near approach to it?

  • The best way is to meet a new situation not based on human logic but on the logic of the Infinite and watch the results.
  • Where human logic predicts a certain failure, an impossibility, or a course of madness, the logic of the Infinite predicts a glorious success, a great opportunity and a thrilling adventure.
  • Life does not offer us many example but it is not without a striking few.
  • New Deal, Churchill's leadership of England in the World War, India gaining her freedom and Gandhiji's quelling of the communal riots in 1947 are such examples. A recent experience of Chrysler which turned out to be more than a success is another example as we watched the company's performance with the above understanding.
  • In truth, if any life event is approached in observation based on the principles of Logic of the Infinite, the outcome answers to that logic.
  • There must be twenty passages in The Life Divine where He explains this wholeness of vision as moving to the Non-Being from Being, the secret of creation that breaks the ONE into the Many and comes back, the supramental imperative not seen by the mind as it is occult, how the mind misses the various details of any event, the Individual discovering himself as the Eternal, the life-force affirming the good as well as evil, etc.
  • In any event, there are multiple factors which one cannot know. What one knows is only his part which is a small part. He decides on that basis which becomes the logic of the finite. To know all the facts known to all is not given to man. No one will go wrong if decisions are taken on the basis of all facts, which is the logic of the Infinite.

Contradictions are Complementaries

  • Creation is a process where Sat hides within itself to become Matter.
  • It passes through the stages of Consciousness, Force, Supermind, Mind and Life before it becomes Matter.
  • Mind evolves form Life and Matter.
  • The aim is Sachchidananda above has to discover itself below in a richer fashion as Bliss becomes Delight.
  • The process has been described at the level of life where desire changes into Love.
  • Matter not only loses its inconscient insensibility but should become greater than Sat, having emerged from Matter.
  • The purpose of hiding is to emerge in a richer fashion than in the original Sachchidananda.
  • The method chosen is the conflict between the dual terms.
  • The conflict impinges on the dumb parts in the opposite to make them creative.
  • In a game, the opponent tries his best to send the ball out of your reach within the bounds of the court. This enables you to bring out every hidden talent, which is not possible without conflict.
  • The artist and the musician become creative in a field of their imagination.
  • In a material field, such creativity is made possible by the conflict, as the opposition party helps restrain the ruling party with a cumulative result of a better political conduct.
  • The aim is to bring out the INFINITY in matter by sending a challenge to every infinitesimal point in it, for which Nature has chosen the method of contradiction. Nature this way becomes supernature, thus enriching Matter, Life and Mind. Bliss becomes active Delight, losing its static nature. The immutable soul becomes the evolving soul of the psychic. Even so Matter and Life will outdo Sat and Chit. Hence the contradiction.
  • The long journey of involution has given Sat that evolutionary gift.

Sat  -- Chit - Ananda

Judiciary - Executive - Legislature

In a family or company, the welfare is conceived of and planned by the elders or the board. The production facilities produce the wealth in the company or in the family properties. In the grand sales exhibition, the company sells its products or the family enjoys conducting the marriages of the young people. The judiciary frames the constitution, makes the laws and endorses them. The Legislature gives the laws framed by the judiciary life, which the Executive implements.

It is easy to see that all the three together make up the government, the company or the family. None can exist without the other. But those in the board of the company not only feel their superiority but are unwilling to concede any significance to the others. While in the Parliament, one knows how difficult it is to plead the case of either the judiciary or the executive. The member of the family who spends his days and nights in the paddy fields harvesting and keeping a vigilant watch over the produce  without sleep naturally feels his own importance. When the others at home who conceived of buying the land and planned the production of the fields are mentioned to the one at the thrashing ground, no wonder he thrashes them out.

Mind is partial. It is led by the vital. It loses itself in its work. It is made to divide. Supermind is all-comprehending.

Mind sees Sat and Maya and forgets there need be a Chit to execute or Ananda to enjoy. If for any reason Chit is seen by the mind along with the drone Prakriti, it is impatient with the stagnant Sat or frowns on the jubilant Ananda. He works and there he matters and he alone matters. He who has seen Ananda and Lila naturally conceives of a very poor opinion of the drone or illusory Maya as against an Ananda which is live in his nerves. No one can remind him that his Ananda is made possible by Sat as well as Chit.

Mind's Conception of the Reality

As the story of six blind people conceiving an idea of the elephant by touch is illustrative though crude, there is another similar story which illustrates the mind's difficulty in conceiving or mind's capacity to ‘conceive' more than the truth.

A blind man whose knowledge of the world was by hearing and touch heard a child crying because it was choking while being fed. On enquiring, he was told that the child was being fed with milk. He was further told that milk was white in colour and he was given an explanation of whiteness by comparing it to the colour of the crane. His questions continued from milk to whiteness to the crane. Someone bent his hand and brought it to the blind man to touch so that he would have an idea of the crane's shape. Having touched the hand in its bent fashion, the blind man exclaimed, "No wonder the child is choking when such an object is thrust down its throat!"

The partial mind trying to know the whole through the illustration of other similar parts moves to the irrelevant part and feels aghast. This is the characteristic way in which the mind fails to comprehend the Reality through any possible illustration. Still, if the Mind is not impatient in insisting on its own interpretation of the illustrations offered and can patiently know what the illustration was meant for, it is not impossible to arrive at the truth.

In any act or event, there are two sides, one that illustrates and the other that misleads. Mind is FREE either to retain its relation with its origin, Supermind or INSIST on its own interpretation of the illustration. The error enters only when the Mind insists on its own right to interpret what it experiences. That insistence is there in the mind so that the Self can proceed to hide at the lower levels of creation. Its capacity to retain the relationship with its origin enables it to move along the path of evolution.  The error arises in using the faculty meant for hiding to emerge from Ignorance.

Several Poises of the Spirit

  • Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara, Maya, Prakriti, Shakti are terms about which there are conflicting descriptions.
  • Sri Aurobindo says they are all ONE; three poises of one being and three powers of each poise.
  • In an organisation there are various posts and each post carries its own power.  There are occasions when a post falls vacant and the head of the organisation fills that post temporarily and discharges that function. The head is free to occupy any post at will.
  • In a house, the father functions as the head of the family, but he is free to cook, wash clothes, watch TV, meet visitor and take upon himself any work originally allotted to others. It does not mean they are all several different persons. There is one person whose functions are many at different times.
  • The Absolute Brahman, the Transcendent Self, the Superconscient, the Cosmic Self, the Supramental Being, Non-Being, the immobile Immutable Self, the Ineffable, the Silence, the Word, Nirguna Brahman, and Saguna Brahman are all different poises of the ONE, as the head of the family identifies himself with various duties out of necessity or pleasure.
  • ONE without a Second,' and  ‘All is Brahman' are two profound ideas of the Upanishads left unreconciled. Sri Aurobindo has shown that the ONE is the Many and the Many are the ONE.
  • A man who is related to a dozen people at home in a dozen relationships - father, son, husband, brother, uncle, father-in-law, son-in-law, etc. - and outside serves as an employee, friend, member of a club, musician, patient, party member, customer, etc. etc. is really one person with various relationships and various outside functions. There are no two dozen persons.
  • Mind, instead of dividing the functions, divides the person, an error, a grotesque error. GOD is ONE, found in dozens and hundreds and millions of poises.

Integrality of the Reality

  • To the Supramental vision, Reality is integral, Life is integral, Time also is integral and everything is integral.
  • To those who do not have that vision, Sri Aurobindo gives the argument of that vision through what He calls the Logic of the Infinite.
  • He saw the Spirit as One and therefore He can find the explanations that would be helpful for His vision. It essentially differs from the earlier visions in that they were partial and His is a whole vision.
  • His was not an argument. It was a fact, what HE saw. Having seen the Spirit as One, He need not construct several arguments. It is enough He states what He saw. The logic into which it went He called the Logic of the Infinite.
  • His basic argument arises from His basic vision that the Reality converted itself into the universe. If that is the vision, all that He needs to do is to state what HE saw and explain how it is not as described by the logicians based on logic, but on spiritual experience.
  • This vision discloses the secret of creation of Unity splitting itself into division and restoring to unity again. This is how the ONE becomes the Many and retains the unity.
  • The unity of the ONE is unmanifest. The unity of the Many is the unity in multiplicity.
  • Formlessness, He explains, is the infinite freedom in which endless forms can be created and not the opposite of Form, a fixed condition, as Form is a fixed condition.
  • Thus, Silence is the infinite condition from which all activities can emerge and not the opposite of movement.
  • Impersonality is the condition from which innumerable personalities can emerge.
  • To understand Infinity not as the opposite of the fixed finite, but as the vast unmanifest condition from which all finites can emerge can be called a practical concept of Infinity or a Concrete conception of Infinity in the finite planes.
  • Mind can understand good as against evil. Mind can understand evil as an act, good as another act. It requires a subtlety to understand an ACT that is neither good nor evil.
  • When good acts and bad acts are mixed, mind is a fine instrument to separate them and see one of them, as the function of the mind is to divide, here dividing the good act from the bad act.
  • To move from good acts and bad acts to an ACT which is neither good nor bad, a neutral act, an amoral act, is NOT the function for which mind is originally constituted. Rather, it was created for an opposite purpose. Mind cannot be successfully used for it.
  • To do so - to comprehend an act as against an act carrying a character - is to move away from the mind to Supermind just as appreciating another man's point of view is not a mental faculty, but is one of the Supermind.
  • In a work where several people are concerned, when something goes wrong, MIND will easily comprehend a proposition that the work can be rectified if each person reverses his error. We always say that if anyone of them reverses his erroneous attitude, the work will set itself right. This is not an idea mind can conceive of. To conceive of it, one needs the touch of the Supermind.
  • Obstacles spoil a work, delay is a mental idea. That obstacles are stepping stones to success is an unpalatable idea to the mind, but it is an idea that mind can follow. When we say obstacles are opportunities, mind comes to a stop. It refuses to function. We can go ahead, quote an example and show how in a particular case obstacles were followed by opportunities. Mind can understand the fact of opportunities following obstacles in that case, but the idea that the opportunities were brought by the very obstacle is not for the mind either to conceive of or to comprehend when conceived. Only a shade of Supermind can see it. Supermind goes further and declares that obstacles are opportunities and are perceived by the distorting medium of mind as obstacles. At this point, mind gives up attempting to understand. Every aspect of Supermind can thus be contrasted with the mind and its native faculties.
  • Mind understands some, many, too many, the endless many, which He terms as the boundless finite.
  • The boundless finite is inexhaustible. Mind very well sees both these concepts.
  • Infinity is NOT the inexhaustible boundless finite.
  • Infinity is that which is not finite, which refuses to be finite.
  • Infinity is a STATE that tends to grow by the slightest motion.
  • In a static state, the Infinite is simply NOT finite.
  • When it moves on its own or is moved, it tends to preserve its present position by growth. It is better to say change as growth fixes a direction. Change in the Infinite is directionless.
  • These as concepts are very well for mathematics or metaphysics.
  • Practically such concepts are NOT there in life or thought.
  • We say the Infinite preserves its position when added to or something is taken out of it. This is the characteristic of the Infinite.
  • We see some symptoms in Mind. It grows by giving.
  • We see energy in life grows by deprivation.
  • We see body generating more energy when energy is spent.
  • These are distant examples.
  • It is not enough they are concepts, but they need to become concrete concepts to fully appreciate Infinity.
  • Sri Aurobindo's yoga of transformation of the body, the boon He asked from the Highest is so far not conceived of by the human mind. It is a condition where static Bliss of Sachchidananda GROWS to be active Delight in knowledge emerging from Ignorance.
  • In that process, the Immutable SOUL becomes the evolving SOUL, the psychic.
  • The gods, not having bodies, cannot enjoy constant remembrance.
  • It is matter that gives permanence to BLISS.
  • Infinity changes infinitely in infinite ways is the conception one needs concretely to appreciate Infinity.
  • Integrality of Reality is Infinity in the Finite.

Concepts and Strategies

  • Infinity, Remembrance, Hostility, Transformation and Surrender are the five concepts and strategies that summarise this yoga.
  • Infinity should be seen not as a mere opposite to the finite which is the boundless finite, but that which is,

- Self-existing as the Infinite in its own right.

- Capable of neither decreasing nor increasing by movement.

- Richer in the lower planes when transformed than in the higher planes.

- Not a concept but a LIVE force that is a BEING.

- A condition that can create infinite FINITES so that the finite will preserve its infinite nature.

- Beyond being influenced by movement, moving fast ahead without movement. [i.e. ‘It moves not but is always ahead' - The Gita ]

- In every way transcending the human conception, the human mind in generating forms, in being Time, in manifestation, in activity, immutability, in oneness, in unity, in qualities and features, in being force, etc.

- Formless out of which all forms can be endlessly created because here we see the Infinity in its aspect of creating or generating forms, not out of one form but out of an infinite condition from which any number of forms are generated.

- Time that can contain Time-movement and Timeless state simultaneously, thereby being an Eternity of that kind.

- That phase of Infinite Silence out of which infinite activities and words may issue.

- Infinite that can create finites which essentially retain their infinity, so that all aspects of the infinite can issue out of it as finites, but retaining their essential infinite nature which is outside movement, activity, manifestation, form, Time, etc.

  • To know or remember that YOU are that Infinity who has forgotten your hiding and now seeks the joy of that remembrance is another concept that is practical at the mental level of thought, vital level of feelings and the physical level of sensations.
  • It is necessary to see at the mental level all thoughts are negative, as Thought itself in the mind is negative in the sense it originated in the body. It becomes positive only when it transforms itself into the Real-Idea of the Supermind. (It is well to remember that the whole creation is a self-conceptive extension of the Being which enables thought to see the Absolute).
  • Thoughts are negative, feelings are evil, and sensations are hostile. This is a reality no human being can concede. This is why the earlier beings prior to this creation turned hostile to God. As you go down from mind to body, you witness the progress of negativity to hostility. To recognize this evolutionary fact is again essential.
  • Sri Aurobindo says Transformation is inevitable. If Sachchidananda has converted or inverted into this world of matter, for HIM to emerge out of this dark hostile condition it must be easy to follow that transformation is inevitable.
  • Man is God in coma, the self-forgetting Godhead who can change or transform himself in the measure of his choice. This choice is called in yogic language, "surrender" which means man gives up his all to become its opposite.
  • This surrender can be in part or as a whole, part of the mind or the whole of the Being.
  • That choice depends upon his awareness of all these fine concepts and strategies.
  • That is why Sri Aurobindo says The Mother has the power to supramentalise the world in a day. He did not make this statement on his own. When he was asked this question, He said "Yes."
  • These five concepts and strategies thus summarise this yoga and are there for us to avail of.
  • It is easy to see that each aspect is effective in the measure the previous is perceived. The totality of the Surrender depends on appreciation of transformation and it is determined by the extent that one sees one's hostility. All begins with the concept of Infinity becoming COMPREHENSIVE as a concrete experience in the bodily sensation. It is this appreciation that enables the evolutionary memory of the initial vibrations of creation to become hostile. The crux is in the concept of Infinity.
  • When the dozen ways of the Infinite are concretely conceived of, not merely as a thought in the mind but as a feeling in the heart and also sensation in the body, they lend themselves to be practiced or experimented upon.
  • Here begins the YOGA in human LIFE.
  • Examples of these are abundant in our lives.

- A litre of rice serving ten persons serves 12 persons.

- A work that has always taken 1½ hours is over in 55 minutes.

- A negotiation for price expected at 96,000 rupees is settled at 36,000 rupees.

- Collection aimed at 10,000 becomes 240,000.

- Promised 5% profit sharing is raised to 10%.

- One unit of work multiplies to 465.

- The chief of the rival camp calls on you to offer laurels.

- Money spent brings in greater inflow of money.

  • There is no devotee who has not seen these concrete expressions of Infinity in life. Equally there is no who has realized the truth of it.
  • Praying to Mother gives us the experience of concrete conception of Infinity.
  • Following that, further experiences of revealing ABUNDANCE must be organised to complete this conception.
  • It must enable one to raise the question why does this abundance reveal itself and from where. If followed, it will lead to that remembrance.
  • Most of that remembrance or all of it will reveal evil, etc.
  • Sincerity accepts it in oneself.
  • Sincerity of effort leads one to transformation.
  • At the level one is, this transformation reveals in hundreds of ways of good behaviour of a bad man, bad food not tasting bad to you, a pickpocket returning your purse, a corrupt official doing your work without bribes, etc. Your own inner transformation matters.
  • From consciousness point of view, inner transformation and from work point of view outer results matter.
  • The comprehensiveness of transformation depends upon the completeness of one's confidence in Mother. It can theoretically be total and the result instantaneous.
  • To know Infinity, one should move to the Supermind.
  • To remember one is Brahman, one should look at his own life and see every great act he has done was done unaided. He must be severely alone to remind himself that he is Brahman.
  • To know thought is bad, feelings are evil and sensation is hostile comes through humility.
  • Sincerity brings in Transformation.
  • To surrender totally, one should have exhausted his present opportunities.
  • Consciousness, Devotion, Sincerity, Purity and Humility contain all the above.
  • Consciousness makes you see the Infinity, Devotion helps the remembrance, Sincerity comes when you know you are hostile, Purity gives transformation and Surrender issues out of Humility.        

Ego is a Power of the Infinite

  • Mind divided matter and created atomic existence which is physical ego.
  • Mind dividing substance created individual viewpoints and later dividing life, individual life points of view, both of which constitute ego, mental and vital ego.
  • The ONE could become the Many because of ego formation.
  • Ego is separative. Only dissolution of ego reveals the Cosmic Self.
  • Ignorance is complete when in the surface mind it imprisons itself in ego with the help of mind.
  • Ego is the coordinating intelligence known as reason and it serves as a bar to intuition.
  • Ego is fortified by the senses which are its creation.
  • Lila is hiding inside ego and emerging out of it.
  • Thus, we know ego is small, separative, ignorant, confined to the surface being, served by memory, is not seen when the mind is lost in the action, the false substitute to Jivatma, the true individual, the nethermost point of the inversion of the Superconscient, Supracosmic being.
  • Now, Sri Aurobindo tells us ego is a power of the Infinite.
  • When a government employee at the lowest level is serving a government order, he carries the entire power of the government. We see that he is not a mere petty officer, but an officer carrying the full power of the government.
  • The ego has come into existence as an expression of the Infinite and to carry out the purpose of the Infinite in the role of the finite. In this sense, ego is a power of the Infinite.
  • A country changing from dictatorship to democracy enfranchises its population. Its last citizen votes to elect the government.
  • His is not a small vote, a puny one, one in a million.
  • His vote represents the democracy in the country and in one sense that one vote carries the full power of democracy.
  • Not only that, his vote is the country's sanction to that puny person of the right to be elected to the government, even to be its head.
  • Ego is the power of the Infinite, as it has the power to become the Infinite by virtue of its being an ego today, the end status of the great power.

Outline of The Life Divine

From the Vedas up to Sri Aurobindo

The period of the Vedas is the period of naturalistic life, very much in the physical and the subtle physical. As in the early stages of any knowledge, dedication to the quest and sincerity to the purpose were total. Their bodies naturally communed with the environment of nature with the advantage of the absence of mind or higher emotions to interfere.

To the Vedic people, any force was a god and the gods readily answered. Their prayers were simple for cows and rains. But they had a profundity inconceivable for the man of later periods. They approached Sachchidananda through the gods. Endowed with no developed ego, they could shed it to aspire for the immortality of divine universality and supreme infinity.

Their unity with the environment and the integrality of emotions enabled them to protect themselves against hostile forces by their prayers, which were readily answered. But Evil remained an important issue.

Buddha, having discovered that Existence cannot be known, gave it up and worked a way out of the evil and suffering allowing no ego to develop.

Mind developed and the period of the Upanishads was ushered in. They could see Sachchidananda and went beyond to see Asat. Going further beyond, they posited That which included Sat and Asat. Mind that was just born was still dominated by intuition. Intellect had not yet usurped intuition. Their intuition could see the Being in the Becoming for them to declare Sarvam Brahman, All is Brahman. Man is Brahman. Brahman is Man. As their instrument was the divisive Mind, they could see Sat or Chit or Ananda in Sachchidananda and saw the parts as the whole. They mistook the part as the whole. They saw Prakriti and Purusha but each as separate and opposed to the other. The Self is said to have revealed to different seers in fourteen different ways (Immutable Self, Silence, Nirguna, Saguna, the word, etc.) of positive or negative aspects. Naturally, each Rishi took his own vision, not only as final, but as the only truth. Without an instrument to see the whole - the Supermind - no one could see the whole as a whole. God realisation remained realisation of a part taken for the whole.  They could see even Jivatma as a part and a transitory part. Therefore, they never conceded any reality to Jivatma. Sankya's many Purushas and single Prakriti held the field. Logic began to rise in ascendancy putting intuition in the rear.

The Gita addressed the ripe soul, revealed the Transcendent Purushothama as the ultimate and denounced the Vedas and Upanishads as incapable of reaching Purushothama. It offered surrender of mental belief for the mature soul to reach moksha quickly. Today, the world over it is the collective man who is paramount. He needs a message.

Directed by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo had the Supramental vision, a vision of the whole creation as a whole forever. His instrument being one that is capable of seeing the whole, He sees Brahman, creation, the universe, the relative, life, matter, etc. as an undivided whole in different appearances. His message is,

                The Being is ONE.

                The Many are ONE.

                The Absolute is the relative.

                Life is a whole.

                Matter is Spirit.

Never for a moment has Brahman lost its wholeness. This is Sri Aurobindo's vision. To deliver this vision of the whole, He wrote The Life Divine.

In terms of life, what does it mean? We do not live all by ourselves, but we let our family live our life or we identify ourselves with the society so that the society renders our life richer. Imagine a man living, cutting himself off from the society. It will shrink to a hundredth or a thousandth part of what it is today.  When a mill is fully automated, its efficiency does not go up twice or thrice but rises up a hundred-fold and it is able to produce single-handedly all the nation's needs.

The message of Sri Aurobindo about the wholeness of life means,

Man must allow the hrdaya samudram to run his life so that the part which his life is will get the efficiency of the whole universe. This is, in practical terms, what He means by saying life is a whole, creation is a whole and the Brahman is always a whole. [2]

Mind, Overmind and Supermind

In a whole made up of parts that are units, each unit is independent. In the mental plane the units collide and as a result of the collision, the involved intuition of Overmind and later the unity of Supermind emerges. Overmind is a plane that is aware of the underlying unity which it knows by comprehension if not by experience. The units cooperate so that the unity will emerge. In the Supermind, each part is a separate unit that is fully integrated with every other unit. Its functioning is regulated by the functioning of the all as well as that of every other unit. This integrality enables each unit to fully benefit by the efficiency of the WHOLE.

The Message of The Life Divine

All the seers employing the mind as their instrument, not being able to see the whole, could not know,

  • 1. Why the Lila was there,
  • 2. The process of creation,
  • 3. The cause for the existence of evil, pain and suffering,
  • 4. The right definition of Ignorance,
  • 5. That the Spirit evolves,
  • 6. The rationale of rebirth,
  • 7. The next species awaits its Advent,
  • 8. The role of the Individual in evolution,
  • 9. The creator,
  • 10. The WHOLE remained WHOLE all the while.

His book will answer all these as follows:

  • 1) Lila is in pursuit of Delight by Self-discovery from hiding within Himself.
  • 2) The Process of creation is to lose Himself until He becomes the very opposite.
  • 3) Creation is for Delight. There is not one moment of pain in it. There is no evil, but Ignorance when it separates form the whole undergoes pain in rejoining.
  • 4) Ignorance is not NOT knowing the One; it is not knowing the world; rather, Ignorance is a limitation of knowledge.
  • 5) The Self-Conscious Being as Spirit inverts itself into inconscient Matter and evolves out of it, and in that process, Spirit evolves to its full glory to create perfect Forms.
  • 6) Rebirth is necessary for the Spirit to complete its evolution.
  • 7) The human being will evolve into the Supramental Being.
  • 8) The Individual is a concentration of the universe, which is really the Eternal.
  • 9) Supermind is the creator, not the mind.
  • 10) The WHOLE has always been a WHOLE; only for the partial vision of the mind it appears as a part.

When we explain to what arguments HE resorts for achieving the above purpose and how the parts of the book and chapters are arranged for this purpose, we would have largely covered the territory of The Life Divine.

I.  Self-discovery

Joy is by discovery. The greater is the difficulty in discovering, the greater is the joy. So the greatest discovery can only be remembering the fact that one has hidden himself and then forgotten it. So He loses Himself until He forgets the fact of his having hidden. He uses Self-conception, Self-limitation, Self-absorption, objectification, energizing, dividing to lose Himself. This results in an inversion of each into its opposite. The double opening of two types, one for the emerging psychic and the other for the ONE to become the Many is used as one more method of hiding.

II. Process of creation

This is the process of hiding. The four above change into the four below as,




Asat  (matter)






the Psychic




Sat, Chit, Ananda split into spiritual determinants as,



Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara



Knowledge and will



Beauty, Love and Joy

Each of the above eight splits into three (e.g. knower, knowledge, known) to make up 24 spiritual determinants. All that we see is the result and combination of their play or interplay.

We speak of Spirit inverting into Matter. Spirit is that which exists between the subjective Sat and objective Satyam. This Spirit is called the Spiritual Substance. The 12 aspects of the Spirit are a slight variation of the above and the more fundamental four, viz. Silence, Peace, Infinity and Eternity. The eight from Sachchidananda are:                 



Unity, Truth Goodness



Knowledge, Power



Beauty, Love, Joy

When they invert:

























Of these 12, the double aspect of Knowledge and Ignorance stands out, though the hiding can be fully explained by any other determinant or all. One illustration can be given. As Unity descends down to matter from Sat in different planes, it expresses itself differently.



















The process of hiding can be witnessed in all the 12 aspects of the Spirit. An appreciation of that line of thinking eliminates most of the obstacles encountered in the course of the writing. Obviously evolution means reversing this course.

The Eternal, Infinite Absolute enjoys a Freedom inconceivable by human mind and that freedom moves down to become fetters at the level of matter. As said earlier, all the difficulties man meets with in life, all the incomprehensible passages one finds in The Life Divine are the creations and contributions of the human mind, especially in its inability to see the WHOLE. Sri Aurobindo appreciates that hurdle everywhere and has gone beyond creatively to improve upon logic, reason, comprehension, converting intuition into reason. His definition of Freedom is one such improvement. We can pay special attention to certain facts that are factors of his writing:

  • i. Freedom, He describes, in order to be the freedom of the Infinite, should also be the freedom to lose itself and to offer to be in fetters.
  • ii. Indeterminability of the Absolute is not its incapacity to determine but its ability NOT to be bound by any other determination.
  • iii. He quotes the famous dictum of the Upanishads and leans heavily on that: "complete minus complete = complete."
  • iv. He rejects the superstition of the mind that Brahman can be other than Brahman in creation. It is the mind's capacity to say one thing and act in opposition to that.
  • v. Reason can be reason in its own right, He says, if the mind does not abridge its capacities to its own convenience. He illustrates that idea in logic to show how logic has full validity when it upgrades itself into the logic of the infinite.
  • vi. He does not countenance giving up the enquiry in the middle, as it is difficult. He calls it obscurantism and points out that it will come back on man later with a greater force.
  • vii. Above all, He advocates a disciplined intellect that needs to plant its feet firmly on earth, seeking the confirmation of the heights from the bottom.
  • viii. This fuller and wider approach to the process of creation helps Him tie down the loose ends of the mental thinking of which He cites mainly four:

Reconcile One without a Second with ‘All is Brahman'.

Let us know God in the ascent as we did God in the descent.

The scientist, in his own field, must be as thorough as the Sannyasi in the field of Spirit.

The Aryan Balance once offered to humanity must always be maintained at higher levels.

  • ix. He calls the biological evolution an evolution of forms, and in pursuit of unity, shows that it needs to handle the evolution of consciousness without which the gaps in the transition from one species to another will remain gaps.
  • x. The Absolute even when it became the relative, remained Absolute in its wholeness which can be seen in the FULLNESS of life from the depths of life where Time and Timelessness have crossed into a further dimension where they meet in their integrality.
  • He goes on to say that the above fullness of knowledge is not to be won by the intellect, but through experience. Anyone who makes that as a starting point of his study and learns from life will appreciate His theme ‘All Life is Yoga' where life reveals as a Marvel, no longer studded with failure, pain, frustration, and disappointment.


The short but pregnant observation He makes on waste in Nature fully expresses His view of the WHOLE. Nature accomplishes several things at once focusing on but one point while the energy expended on all other fronts appears as total waste. He explains that we see one point on which Nature focuses while the work is carried on at several points - in fact, all points of existence on earth - whose results show unexpectedly when the result of our observation emerges. The greatest efficiency conceivable or inconceivable by which work done at one point produces results at all other points of worldly existence, man has come to describe as waste. When work is all efficiency, it takes on the appearance of waste.

There is no better illustration than the concept of waste for His theme of the whole that Life is a whole, Being is a whole, Becoming is a whole, the ONE is the Many, the Many are the ONE.

Let us start from the very first step of manifestation and trace the steps with a view to seeing how HE hides and the various methods He resorts to. Sri Aurobindo says the profoundest method of nature is to present the ONE in two contradictory opposite components so that in their interaction each in collusion with its opposite will know more fully the corresponding vibration, thus making for a richer whole. The evolutionary aim is delight, a Delight greater in the lower and deeper regions than in the static higher levels, by virtue of their emerging out of hiding. Some examples of that are:

  • The Absolute presents itself in manifestation as the two opposites of Sat and Asat which in their creative interaction raises the static bliss into active Delight. He explains this process as one where Sachchidananda expresses the objectless delight in objects. Further, He says that it is done by the individual universalizing himself, fulfilling this goal in the vibration of harmony in the plane of the universe.
  • Consciousness splits itself into Consciousness and Force and moves down to become life. In the evolution, life tries to unite back Force and Consciousness and achieves it at the level of Consciousness beyond Supermind.
  • Mind divides itself into knowledge and will, and knowledge works on will to energise it and release the plane of life. In the process, knowledge partially loses itself.

Sachchidananda itself comes into existence by a gradual loss of freedom:

  • The Infinite Eternal that is FREE of any need to be anything loses its freedom in non-manifestation and chooses to be a Being or Existence.
  • This is a pure Existence which does not need to be conscious of itself or sense its existence or comprehend what it is. Nor has it a subjective need to know itself as Being or an objective need to see itself as Truth. It did not also have a need to become a substance called Spirit.

- It chose to be conscious and became Consciousness.

- It decided to sense itself and thus Ananda came about.

- Its desire to comprehend itself created Supermind.

- Its subjective and objective needs or fetters gave rise to Being and Truth as well as Spirit.

- Its desire for inner and outer extension has created the planes of Time and Space.

III.  Creation for Delight

Ego occupies the greatest significance in His yoga as its main method is dissolving the ego. The creation for Delight, He says, is a delight of Play of various descriptions of which the play of the ONE with the Many and the Many among themselves assumes significance. It is a play, He says, of Being with Being, Consciousness with Consciousness and Delight with Delight for which many centres of Being with consciousness capable of delight have to be created. This is done by the mind dividing the One into Many when it divides the Force on the surface of the Being. Ego is thus formed when the division becomes an individual point of view in the mind, life point of view in the vital and atomic existence in matter. The explanation is that the formation of the ego enabled the One to become the Many.

The One, from its unity, divides to become the Many, again closing back to unity, Sri Aurobindo says. This He calls the secret of the creative process. By this, He answers the questions the Rishis had prohibited us from raising.

Ego, the separated being, endeavours to overcome the division, and pain and suffering is for the divided being to overcome its division. It is not there in creation. Man has pain when he identifies  himself with the ego. Even when he is an ego, should he choose NOT to identify himself with the ego, he will not experience pain.

IV.  Ignorance

In the 14th chapter of the Second Book, Sri Aurobindo explains that evil is not evil, because the simple contrary turns into complex perversion which becomes evil in our experience. Evil for Him is simply Ignorance.

In the previous chapter Sri Aurobindo makes the amazing statement that Ignorance is the greatest product of creation and it is achieved on the surface being. To bring home this statement, He explains the four types of knowledge in the chapter previous to that. One chapter ahead, He argues that Ignorance is created by the mind separating itself from the Supermind.

It was the vision of the Alwars that there could be a world without Ignorance. He says the Vedic ideal is also the same, but in practice it is not easy to attain. Mayavada, according to him, mistook Ignorance for Illusion. The definition of the Vedas and Vedanta for Ignorance was the one given by the mind. Both of them prevented the vision of the whole, as their definition itself stood in the way. His definition of Ignorance that it is a limitation of knowledge enables knowledge to fully emerge out of Ignorance, and get rid of it fully. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo devotes a full chapter to knowledge and Ignorance after describing in two chapters that there is no illusion or hallucination, but what is there is ONLY Ignorance. In Part V of the Second Book on this issue, there is one more chapter "The Boundaries of Ignorance." This chapter describes how knowledge gets absorbed into Ignorance. It goes with the description of the subtle planes, the cosmic Self, the subliminal mind. Taken from bottom or taken from above, it can be easily seen how one turns into another and incidentally provides for the opposite journey of evolution. Sat Purusha, the Self-Conscious Being, the very first that came into manifestation has as its subordinate expression the Cosmic Self that presides over all Cosmos. Universe is its creation. The Self-Conscious Being is the ONE, the indivisible which for the sake of play, allows itself to be divided into the Many. This division creates the universal Ignorance and gives rise to birth of the ego. As the universe lives in the planes of Time and Space, the Being creates the planes of Time and Space by inner and outer extension losing its integrality. Still, even in these planes, the supra-physical planes are known, but on moving down further into the mental consciousness, the knowledge of these planes is lost. One is aware of all his parts - body, life, mind and Spirit - though centred in one of these planes. Moving further down to practical work, one is confined to one plane and would not know what to do next, as he becomes at this stage ignorant of the environment and others.

  • 1) Original Ignorance - Moving away form Self-Conscious Being
  • 2) Cosmic Ignorance - Deserting the cosmic Self - subliminal mind.
  • 3) Universal Ignorance -- Entering into Ego, giving up the universal plane - subliminal mind.
  • 4) Temporal Ignorance - Bound to the planes of time and space - lower hemisphere
  • 5) Psychological Ignorance -- Not knowing the other worlds - losing touch with the subtle planes of body, mind, etc.
  • 6) Constitutional Ignorance - compartmentalization of the parts of the being.
  • 7) Practical Ignorance - not knowing the environment.

V.  Perfect Forms

Creation is creation of Forms. The essential truths of the Being cast into the phenomenal truths of Becoming need creation of Forms. Perfection of Forms is the aim. Forms come out of Force. Force issues out of consciousness that comes out of the Being.

Being - Consciousness - Force - Form is the path it takes to hide itself.

VI.  Rebirth

Though conceded by every school of thought, rebirth is not explained by any. Sri Aurobindo's theory of spiritual evolution demands rebirth, which goes with His assumption that the Absolute tries to hide itself. Brahman hides itself in the Form of the human body and, through rebirth, continues that hiding until Brahman fully emerges out of it.

VII.  Advent of the Supramental Being

His evolution justifies the creation of perfect Forms, spiritual evolution and the transformation of man.

VIII. Transformation

As against the moksha of the tradition, He offers transformation. In the last chapter, He argues that this Transformation is inevitable. The Individual who has realized the universe and the Transcendent in himself is fit for this. In Chapter 3 of the Second Book He describes this Individual and declares that the Individual is Eternal.

IX.  Supermind

He devotes four chapters in the first book to Supermind, as He disagrees with the traditional belief that mind has created the world (Brahma, the god of Overmind, created the world). Sri Aurobindo explains in the first chapter of the Second Book that it is the Supermind that created the universe.

X.  ONE, Absolute

We know someone as a good man whom others call a bad man. He is called an employee in a company, a father, brother, husband, son at home, patient by his doctor, party by his lawyer, ticket by the conductor, and tenant by his landlord.

There is only ONE person.

There are not a dozen different people. Man remains the same, ONE, whole, all the time he is understood differently in different places and times. Brahman is the same, ONE, Absolute, whole, indivisible, when we call it Brahman, Sachchidananda, Man, tree, house, evil, good, etc. All these are appearances, not the Reality. This is not an intellectual knowledge to be gained by reading, He says. To know that we are that Reality is the knowledge. It has to be Seen, Felt and Lived in life. He who sees that NO LONGER faces failures.

At the end of the chapter on ‘Reality and Integral Knowledge', Sri Aurobindo says this knowledge is not to be acquired intellectually by reading. He also says ‘All Life is Yoga.' What cannot be known intellectually can be known in life as a reality of life. It will be a vital knowledge.

It is true we cannot so easily see the Spirit as a WHOLE, but life is what we live and it is possible to see the WHOLENESS of life at least in some acts or events. Each time Mother grants us a prayer SHE makes life a whole to deliver the results to us. We can try to strain ourselves to know it, and if possible, retain it. It can also be consciously attained by refusing to conceive any part of an event negatively. The symptom of its success is the results must expand many-fold beyond normal expectation.

[1]  SABCL, Volume 24, Letters on Yoga,  pg. 1660.

[2]  He promised Perfection. To ensure that, He wants security to be established first. Security is established by refusing to be negative.



 1. In Logic of the Infinite

 1. In Logic of the Infinite -Vision of the Whole, 

Life does not offer us many example - examples

2. Under Contradictions are Complimentaries, Mind evolves form Life and Matter - Mind evolves from.

3. The aim is Sachindananda has to - reads better as - The aim is that, Sachindananda has to

4. Under the sub-title From the Vedas upto Sri Aurobindo, the second point is in a minute font size. 

5. Under the IVth point, Ignorance, the different Ignorances, the 3rd point  and the 5th pointhas two hyphens instead of one.


 1. during work no one should

 1. during work no one should be rubbed on the wrong side by me. I should NOT rub myself on the wrong side particularly.

- Particularly, I myself should not rub any one on the wrong side.

2. Uniform highlights - bold, italic, small letters and capital first letters for words with added emphasis.

3. Sat - Chit- Ananda - There is a double hyphen after Sat.

4. thrashing ground - threshing ground

5. Mind very well sees both these concepts - Mind sees both these concepts very well. 

1. The bullet point under sub

1. The bullet point under sub head Spiritual Evolution - Mind passes through these stages -

- through these stages of subliminal gross mind, inner mind and surface mind.

2. viz - namely, or that is,

3. the next bullet point - a comma after all is all - will be appropriate.

4. Under the subhead, Universe, the first paragraph has to be aligned.

5.Under 'Lila', the last bullet point - and finds Lila,  Maya and Prakriti are coexistent conceptions. (this is from a previous paragraph)

6. Under the subhead, Sri Aurobindo realised the Absolute in the Physical, the third bullet point -  the soul realising means - the realising of the soul means?

7. i.e - that is

8. All  emphasised words in lower case, italics and bold for uniformity.

9. Under the Fundamental Spiritual Determinants,  Sat has double hyphen, and Chit and Ananda have only one. All can be made into one hyphen with equal spaces on either side, and aligned.

10. Under the Fundamental Negating Positives and the Fundamental Affirming Positives, the column on the right has to be aligned to make the serial numbers well inside the margin.

 1.Knowledge became Ignorance

 1.Knowledge became Ignorance in involution and in evolution.

                Knowledge emerges from Ignorance.

- Knowledge became Ignorance in involution and in evolution, Knowledge emerges from Ignorance?

2. One example will illustrate to those who read the comparatively easy first chapter, whose central them

- theme

3. All paragraphs to be aligned flush left where they are not.

4. Under the tabular explanation of Mind, 'Unity to Contradictions' need to be aligned to centre.

5. The sentence just before the subhead 'Creation of Matter', starting - The entire difference arises from - has to aligned.

6. All abbreviations like viz(namely, which are) and etc. were expanded in to their English equivalents in the earlier chapters.

7. 'His' or 'He' or 'Him' when referring to Sri Aurobindo were made bold and italicized to differentiate between His and so on when referring to the Divine.


story | by Dr. Radut