SRI AUROBINDO DARSHAN:
THE UNIVERSITY OF TOMORROW
(as envisioned by its founder)
V. Madhusudan Reddy
Since the beginnings of civilization, the problem of human unity and human
perfectibility has been engaging the minds of thinking men. Today mankind is undergoing
the deepest crisis of its long and eventful history caused by the serious disparity between
man's limited mental and moral capacity and his enormous achievements in the structure of his
external life including weapons of unparalleled destructive power. While science has put at man's
disposal many potencies of the universal Force and has made the life of humanity materially
one, the human mind has as yet nothing universal in its light of knowledge or its movements, no
inner sense of power which could create in this physical drawing together of the human world a
life-unity, a mental unity or a spiritual oneness.
Sensitive men all over the world are convinced that the process of evolution must
bring about an ever-increasing unification and spiritualization of our life. The evolutionary push
has already converted the animal man of the past into a largely mentalized humanity. The
further evolution of the present type of humanity into a spiritualized
humanity is the need of the race and surely the intention of Nature. It is only the full
emergence of the soul, the full descent of the native light and power of the Spirit and the
consequent transformation and uplifting of our insufficient mental and vital nature by a spiritual and
supramental supernature that can effect this evolutionary miracle. Ultimately the essential
nature of civilization must be spiritual. The political, economic and social
dimensions are only its accompanying circumstances, and do not account for its
endurance. Without this enduring spiritual basis civilization is bound to collapse. It is the
spiritual basis of life that alone is capable of overcoming the meaninglessness that
characterizes the predicament of the day.
Let us then awake in time to this anthem of the future and reconstitute our schools
and colleges and make them help our children to march on the sunlit path to this supreme destiny.
A re-evaluation of the education, as such, is of immediate necessity. In the
general organization, intellectual, moral and spiritual values should find greater and
increased expression rather than the exaggerated and overrated view of the pleasures
and powers of mere physical life. A change of consciousness is therefore the sine qua non of true progress. Spirituality as such transcends the forms and methods of religion and
creates its own living and progressively perfecting forms. Spiritual values being central
and imperative must permeate and guide all the aspects of education.
Education is an endless self discovery, a process of self revelation, a creative search
for truth in its numberless manifestations and the re-integration of personality in the light of
such knowledge. A true and living education helps to bring out to full advantage all that is in
the individual and enables him to enter into right relation with life and mind and soul of the people
to which he belongs, and also with the great total of life, mind and soul of
humanity of which he is a conscious and organic unity. Any educational institution worth its
name should have the double objective of preparing its students for an inner change, as well as
work for the progressive unification of the race. The unity of the human race can be achieved
through a creative synthesis of all cultures, through an organized collective of individuals from
different regions of the earth. Science and technology have placed at the disposal of man the use
of universal physical and material forces, making the life of humanity literally one. But who
uses them? It is, in actuality, a little human individual or any communal ego with nothing universal in
its comprehension or action. Science can bring only partial unity. But unity of whole life,
perfect mutuality and harmony can be brought about only by a whole knowledge and whole
power superior to reason.
It is to realize the twin ideals of human perfectibility and human fellowship that the
`University of Tomorrow' has been founded at Hyderabad by a group of dedicated
persons. Attracted by the ideal of human unity the group is now struggling to create a
new instrument of educational environment capable of meeting the formidable demands of our
age. We welcome the newly vocal and sensitive youth from all nationalities as allies in this
great search for a better world and to live together on our campus at least for brief periods, with
the special mission of discovering a new consciousness common and essential to all, yet high
enough to satisfy and fulfill the aspirations of the coming generations.
The attempt in the campus will be to offer to the youth a new future, and new freedom
and a new responsibility; also to help them to become conscious of the unique historical position
and role which the youth occupies in the evolutionary history of man. It is our firm belief that
the special restlessness which we find among the youth all over the world, the increased
impatience which they feel with the hypocrisies of the past is symptomatic of something vaster and
infinitely more profound. Simultaneously we note among them a searching honesty and also a sense
of purpose that is bound to help in finding new solutions. We notice among the youth
movements all over the world a new curve of progress, an altogether new humanism that as yet defies
a clear-cut definition but which is bound to become progressively clearer and more precise
as they learn to articulate for themselves, the causes of the unrest among themselves.
Through open discussions, seminars, symposia and also through individual studies, the youth will
be enabled to find answers to these questions. This is our basic approach and the full details
of each course are chalked out in consultation with the participants themselves.
Tentatively, for your own guidance, we have prepared a list of subjects which
among others include Education and Human Evolution, History and Human Heritage, Psychology
of Cultural Synthesis, Modern Thought and the Present World Situation, Towards Human
Unity, Vision of the Future, Human Destiny, Death and Physical Immortality, Theatre of the
Future, World Drama, World Literature, Philosophy for a New Age, etc.
Yesterday is non-existent. Tomorrow is not yet; truly it is seeking to be born and
increasingly manifest itself in the minds and hearts of the sensitive youth all over the world. A new
light seems to break upon the earth, a new society is taking shape,
a new way of seeing,
of understanding, and loving. Indeed, a global vision of the world beckons us all.
(An unpublished manuscript of Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy)
SRI AUROBINDO DARSHAN:
THE UNIVERSITY OF TOMORROW —
ITS GENESIS AND THE MOTHER'S GRACE
Almost thirty five years back, in November 1971, my father Prof. V. Madhusudan
Reddy had dreamt of setting up a University, somewhere in Hyderabad, India. He wrote the
following letter to the Mother on 10-5-1972 (only a part of the letter is presented here):
"Gracious Mother, since November 1971, I have been trying for the setting up of a
Central University by the Government of India at Hyderabad named after Sri Aurobindo truly a new University and a true University a University without walls. And in
this connection I made several representations to the concerned authorities in the
Government both at the State level and in Delhi. Since about two months there is a
growing feeling in me that without waiting for or asking the Government to set up such a
University, the Institute itself should undertake this project and start it during the
Centenary Year, especially in August. It will be a University project of the Institute with a
separate governing body. Its chief aim would be to reorientate education in the light of
Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's Teachings, and provide guidelines for a truly national
and international system of education. It will avoid the system of examinations and the
awarding of Degrees, and shall try to evolve a system of education which will not be a
system, but a dynamic movement, an endless expansion of knowledge. This world
University centre, to start with, will have 3 Departments:
-- (i) Human Unity, (ii) Theatre of the Future. (iii) Philosophy or The Quest for Truth. These will be more like movements
rather than Departments. It will be a 3-year higher course comprising these three
movements. The students will have a flexible curriculum and a free and creative environment of
study and learning. This in my humble view will provide an effective alternative to the
existing colonial and utilitarian system of education in the country which has had among others
a dehumanising and deIndianising effect on the students.
If such a project is in the Mother's vision and a part of Her infinite work for
the Earth I humbly pray for Her Gracious Approval and Blessings. If it meets with the
Mother's Approval I have the following names to offer at Her Lotus Feet for this project.
(i) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: A World University Centre.
(ii) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow.
I pray to the Mother to give a suitable name for this new international
(Source: Ananda Reddy, Sachidananda Mohanty, editors, Essentials of Sri Aurobindo's Thought, Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad, 1997, pp. 354-355)
The then Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, P. Counouma, wrote a
covering letter to Prof. Reddy stating (only a part of the letter is presented here):
"Your letter dated 10.5.72 has been placed before The Mother.
"The Mother has also approved the University project of the Institute. The name
approved by The Mother is your second proposal; `Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University
of Tomorrow'; She has underlined and put Her blessing."
(Source: Ibid., p. 358)
Almost thirty years after these letters were written, I had a bright intuition of reviving
this project that has the approval and blessings of the Mother. I know that one day or another
the Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad, has to fulfil the work given to it by the Mother.
Instead of going the old way of a universitywith its hierarchy of vice chancellor,
registrars, professors, students, offices and departments and labs and libraries,I thought
that the University of Tomorrow must focus on the future ways for an endless expansion of
knowledge. For that the present ongoing information technology could be the best instrument
to disseminate spiritual knowledge, especially the vision and thought of Sri Aurobindo and
So, the Institute of Human Study, registered the website on 24-02-2004:
(from 6-2-2006 the website is changed to www.theuniversityoftomorrow.org)
The university is at present running its third semester. The need of such an online
teaching facility is felt more and more and students from different parts of the world are registering for
its various courses. We have recently launched a Russian chapter of the University of
Tomorrow and there is a great enthusiasm for it from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The University is at present outsourcing its courses to two universities in the
USACIIS, California, and Antioch University McGregor, Ohio. There is a good possibility of
affiliating soon SACAR with a university in Florida, USA.
We are also planning to start in the near future a Distance Education Centre for Sri
Aurobindo Studies (please see also p. 38) in order to facilitate those students who are eager to take
our courses but are not able to afford the luxury of computers and internet, etc. Our efforts are
to disseminate Sri Aurobindo's vision by all possible
ways`online' or `offline'!
INTEGRAL EDUCATION IN THE PRESENT WORLD
`Integral' education is an expression that sounds good to everybody. It can easily be
understood as a better, a more complete type of education, filling the existing gaps and
developing a more complete human nature in mind, life and body. Everybody would
easily agree on so generous and vague a programme, which seems to open new perspectives
for personal development on one side and for increased productivity on the other side. Let
us increase the mental and vital values in life; let us develop all our capacities to their
maximum. Isn't this what human development is about? But Sri Aurobindo and the Mother add an
essential dimension which changes the very paradigm of education and maybe of society
itself: the discovery and emergence of the soul from behind the veil of human nature as the real self
in man. How far can the modern world accept the sovereignty of this element?
In a way, any system of education has the function of integrating the individual in the
society he has to live in, to shape him with its values and cultural patterns so that the individual can fit
in. There must be a consonance between the society, its fundamental values and its system
of education. Can modern society absorb the integral education as seen by Sri Aurobindo and
Present western civilisation owes a lot to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the thinker of the
18th century, who stated that man is good by nature but has been perverted by society. This
thought has certainly been useful to get out of the pessimistic vision of Christianity and to create a
faith in man and his possibilities but it has also been the cause of all the blunders of European
idealism. For if man is essentially good and has only to be freed from oppression, there is no path
for individual progress. If Rousseau had said, `there is something good in man and he has to
make the effort to find it and becoming it', it would have been all right; but then he would have been
a Hindu, not a European thinker. The equation `man
human nature good' implies that the more we liberate and develop human nature, the more `good' there will be. But the
experience shows that a soulless nature can only generalise the mentalised infra-rational nature in
humanity. And we arrived at the present model of society, in which man is defined between the two
poles of reason and life. A blossoming life organised by reason is the limit of its aspiration.
Therefore, a reasonable hedonistic life in a rationally organised world allowing the individual to enjoy
`integrally' his nature is its ultimate thought, and an intellectually refined rakshasa, his ultimate dream for man. To bring all humanity to this dream is its great democratic effort.
In education, the stress will then be more and more on developing to its maximum
the instrumental nature of man, who is defined as a sum of capacities to be developed and
used. The problem is that human being is then defined only as an instrument without a conscious
user. So, finally, this instrumental nature without a master is put at the service of society, to increase its efficiency and creativity. Education nowadays aims at providing creatively competitive
individuals for a creatively competitive society. It is understood that, being creative, the individual
achieves itself in the process. If yoga or Zen meditation can be proven useful, they are welcome, but
they should not disturb the arrangement. His submission to society does not appear to the
individual because it is enacted by his own free will. He is invited to compete with all his
self-achieving self-assertive capacities to win the right to go under the yoke, therefore he feels that he
is achieving his own personal nature when his is just fighting to fit in, as required.
If there is no sovereign soul to respect and to serve, but only instrumental nature, we
can only conceive of a world of happy instrumentalised instruments. For what we call human
nature is not individual, but individualised movements of universal nature, prakriti. Mind, life and body are determined by many laws, there is no freedom there, there is no conscious being to be
freed but only mechanisms that can be trained and manipulated. That is why the European dream
of democracy has finally turned, with the progress of applied social sciences, into a huge
machine of constant manipulation of human desires and thoughts. This has been labelled
`Development' and offered to the world as the model to be followed.
The western culture cannot go beyond this because the idea of a real self different from
the instrumental nature is not part of its culture, is unthought-of or unthinkable in its
conceptual frame, and therefore it cannot be part of the world western culture can create, and it is
not reasonable to expect it to do so. (But in evolution unreasonable things can also happen!) A
new education, where the soul would be recognised as a central element, requires a new
paradigm and a new society, where the aim of life would be redefined. There is not a society where
the individual is given the right to compete creatively to fit in the economic machine and then be in
a position to grab as much advantages as he can out of it, but a society where education as
self-discovery and self-development has become the very aim of life and the raison d'être of society itself, where the natural capacities of man are understood as the projection, in the
human nature, of the soul-force in terms of knowledge, force, harmony, perfection, where man
is sacred not because of his clever mind, his gentle heart, his passionate life, his sensitive
nerves and fragile miraculous body but because in him is a secret being that awaits his consent
and conscious effort to be born and take the lead of the human adventure.
Now as soon as you take this aim in education, the whole existing system of training
into professional qualifications starts collapsing, because how can you teach and train a soul
in becoming? In fact the teacher feels very much being a student himself. How do you structure
a soul? How do you measure its performances? What kind of diploma do you deliver? And
finally the very idea of school also collapses. Because the soul is always there, it doesn't go to
sleep when school time is over. It is life itself, which becomes the field of progress, giving the
material and opportunities for our own education; then we can truly speak of all life becoming yoga
and truly conceive of a society of `endless education and constant progress', as it is mentioned in
the Auroville Charter. But then, modern society as it is organised becomes more and more irrelevant to the soul.
The recognition of the soul as a central element in human life implies a revolution
because it changes not only education but economics and politics as well: if the aim of life is to learn
and to become, then work is not anymore a means to get the money that gives access to
desirable objects but the very field of progress and becoming, of karma yoga. The existing link between money, work and needs to be covered becomes irrelevant. And governance cannot be
anymore the sovereign rule of a more or less transcendent authority deciding in the name of god,
the party, the nation, or the people but a constant learning and experimental process. All the
transcendent authorities become irrelevant. So to implement a soul education eventually leads to
the remoulding of the whole society. Reciprocally, the implementing of a new education
would require a new social context in which what is attempted is understood, believed in and
And this would be only the beginning, the precondition for the human ascent to "a
higher and truer life."
SRI AUROBINDO DARSHAN:
THE UNIVERSITY OF TOMORROW
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow offers four programmes of study as well as individual courses that may be taken independently of the formal programmes. The four programmes are:
1. Orientation Programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies,
2. Science of Living Programme,
3. Master's equivalent Academic Programme in Sri Aurobindo's Thought and
4. The Ph.D. equivalent Advanced Research Programme in Sri Aurobindo.
The semesters begin on February 2l and August 15 of each year. For the current semester, apply immedately. For full information regarding application, fees, syllabi, etc., log on to our website:
A Selection of Essays Submitted to
the `Orientation Programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow
1. EQUALITY IN INTEGRAL YOGA
The objective of Integral Yoga is twofold: (a) enter into the Divine Consciousness
by merging the separative ego into it and (b) bring down the supramental consciousness on earth
to transform the society at large with the individual as the channel.
The implication of the process is that social upliftment is possible only when the
individuals who compose it strive to uplift themselves at the spiritual level. The process and the effort
have, therefore, to start with the individual.
A basic tenet of Integral Yoga is that the seeker need not abandon or ignore the material
life to attain the spiritual goal. Rather, the goal of Integral Yoga is to integrate the material life
with the spiritual life. The contrast is evident: on the one hand, the ordinary material life is
characterised by fluxes, turmoils and disturbances; on the other hand, the spiritual life calls for the
utmost calm, peace, composure and equality.
The spiritual union sets the tone for the seeker; he has to wear out and eliminate
the disturbances that are rampant within him in his lower levels of ordinary material
existence. Anger, greed, fear, desire and other such vices have to be wiped out. The spiritual
upliftment demands that the seeker first harmonise himself both within and without. One of the steps
or requisites of harmony is the cultivation of samata or equality.
Equality is defined by Sri Aurobindo as remaining unmoved within in all conditions. At
this point a distinction may be made between forbearance and equality. Forbearance and
endurance are developed and stretched by the cultivation of equality, but equality is something
more: it implies an absence of desire and attachment. The ego-sense, however, may still be present.
The practice of equality begins with the cultivation of `acceptance'. This means the
seeker accepts that whatever happens is because of the Divine Will. Even if the mind is not able
to understand the occurrence, the seeker maintains this attitude. If need be, the seeker can
accept the happening with resignation, even if he cannot gladly do so.
Not outward conditions themselves, but the reaction to outward conditions from within
is what determines the spiritual progress of the individual. Therefore, there arises the need
to develop an inner state that is not affected by the fluctuations or adversities of outer
circumstances. It is only as one goes deeper into oneself that one can be stronger than the
outside disturbances. Going and remaining inward is therefore important in the development of equality.
Equality implies seeing the Divine and acknowledging him in one Self, all things and
all happenings. It is only on this basis that true worship and sacrifice is possible. In the initial
stages, emotions such as hatred, dislike, scorn and repulsion may exist, but they drop away as
one grows in equality. Even what must be destroyed is also looked upon as a temporary
movement of the Eternal. The degree of manifestation of the Divine varies in different objects in the
creation. A guiding principle for equality is to hate none and to see the One in all.
All eventsgood, bad or indifferentshall be treated as the will of the Divine Master
and shall be looked upon with the same equality of mind. The Divine manifests itself and those
who have the inner eye alone can see it in all forces, things and creatures. The ripened soul
accepts, seeks to understand and master, and labours towards perfection. Equality can be
cultivated only through a patient self-discipline.
The growth into equality happens in three stages:
The first stage is a period of endurance. It trains the seeker to accept, face, bear,
and conquer the rampant fluctuations and outward disturbances. The seeker develops a
sustained sense of spiritual submission to the Divine Will.
The second stage is marked by the cultivation of a high-seated impartiality and
indifference. It can also be called the philosophic period. The soul frees itself from
the extremes of joy and depression. All forces, things, thoughts, feelings and
sensationsone's own as well as those of others, are regarded in a detached fashion by the spirit. The
Spirit remains undisturbed by these fluctuations.
The third stage promotes a greater divine equality of the perfected soul, an intense
and even wideness and fullness of its being embracing all things. It brings a peace which
deepens into bliss. The passage to the goal is through the joy of a total self-giving to the Divine and to
the Universal Mother. This is the final stage whereby the spirit enters into the sea of the
supreme ecstasy of the Eternal.
It should be noted that equality does not mean greyness of vision or the blotting out of
all hues. It means that behind the variation, the seeker sees the complete and Immutable
dwelling inside and accepts each particular manifestation as it is.
Situating the cultivation of equality in the larger context of Integral Yoga helps us to
understand its importance. In the third stage in the development of equality that was discussed
before, it was said that the Spirit transcends into the vast sea of supreme ecstasy of the Eternal.
This process is smoothened if the seeker first annihilates the ego. He must renounce it. However,
for some time, the ego of the worker may remain in him. This too must be eliminated in the long run.
Sri Aurobindo has stated that in eliminating the ego, the seeker does not hate the object
to be destroyed. Although elimination of the ego is the sine qua non of equality, this is not
possible if the base emotion of anger towards it is entertained. Cultivation of equality will reveal the ego to be a temporary movement of the Eternal. This will thus help to overcome and remove the
ego much as a surgeon removes a harmful growth without endangering the life of the patient.
Cultivation of equality helps in elimination of the base emotions which currently block
the seeker's progress into the higher reaches of consciousness. This process thereby helps in
clearing the path for the movement of the higher consciousness to pour into the seeker, as well as
for uplifting movement of the seeker towards the Divine and uniting with the downpour of the
higher consciousness. All this is achievable in a smooth and pleasant manner by the cultivation
(Rahul Sridhar is an M.Com. from Chennai, India)
* * *
2. MAYA AS A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE
In the universe there is a constant relation of Oneness and Multiplicity. The Divine
reveals Himself in various forms and names to the individual soul. These forms and names are
created by the human consciousness.
The degrees of the Lord's self-manifestation in our universe of motion are expressed
through the primordial power of Adyashakti which is ever at play. She is creating, preserving and
destroying in play, as it were, creating multiple illusions in the process. If we examine closely
the world around us we might discover millions of things which appear to be what they are not.
For instance, modern atomic and subatomic physics reveal to us that concrete hardness of
the material world is nothing else than illusion, because on the atomic level all things consist
of emptiness, in which very small space is occupied by atoms. Atom itself is something like
our planetary system with the sun in its centre and very small planets revolving around it, the
planets themselves are situated very far from the sun and each other. Similarly, the nucleus in the
centre of an atom is surrounded by the electrons which are disappearingly small and located very
far from the nucleus. Another illusion is that the light of the most distant stars in our universe,
though seems to belong to the stars which exist now, actually comes from them millions of years
ago, since the star light had to travel for millions of light years in order to reach our planet. Many
of these stars no longer exist. Play of light and shadow create multitudes of momentary
illusions, which are most prominent in the water reflections, constantly changing, shows us forms
and movements that do not exist. It is like a dancing flame of eternally creative consciousness
and playful moods of the great Goddess Maya, which is never at rest, never stops to enjoy
her creativity and tirelessly busy with perpetual manifestation of her infinite possibilities.
The universe is an endless masquerade:
For nothing here is utterly what it seems;
It is a dream-fact vision of a truth
Which but for the dream would not be wholly true, (SABCL, vol. 25, p. 24)
Emilya Dunayets is an English translator from Kiev, Ukraine)
* * *
3. THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN
SRI AUROBINDO'S PHILOSOPHY
We live in the contemporary world of progress, science and freedom, times when
man frees himself from heavy and immobilising chains of traditions and dogmas. After many
revolutions man knows the taste of freedom from the huge machinery of the old society. In some
parts of society we still can see lingering mechanism of an old order, but it cannot resist any more
the new influences of the modern age.
But even in the modern society man cannot find a deep sense of satisfaction and a
real meaning of life. In the most developed states man attained material welfare, ethical and
aesthetical culture but not a profound sense of reality. Man lives his life without gaining a deeper
knowledge of the true purpose of his terrestrial existence. Some indispensable element is missing in
the modern society where man has to deal with the superficial realities only, and this allows him
to lead a very ordinary mechanical existence.
The scientific theory of evolution bases itself only on the visible and outward
phenomenon and formulates a physical life evolution only, totally neglecting the soul
evolution and the fact that the true purpose of evolution is the self-evolution of consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo says that man is only a transitory being and he has still "to evolve out of
himself the fully conscious being, a divine manhood or a spiritual and supramental supermanhood
which shall be the next product of the evolution."
(The Life Divine, SABCL 19, p. 825) Till
the coming of man, the evolutionary process has been a subconscient process of nature, but
with the appearance of man the evolutionary process becomes in man a self-conscious,
self-willed, conscious aspiration for self-perfection. All of the history of humanity with its many cultures
and arts and philosophies prove this fact. There is in man an "aspiration to a spiritual mastery, to
a spiritual perfection of the being, a divinization of the mind, the heart and the very body."
(Ibid., p. 846) Till now there had been several lines of different approaches to a higher truth in
man. They are religion, occultism, philosophy or spiritual thought and the truest of all was the
one which tried to gain the inner knowledge through the spiritual experience which manifested
itself mostly in the Indian yogis. Sri Aurobindo writes, "it is fundamentally an evolution of
consciousness, that has been taking place in Nature, than man as he is cannot be the last term of that evolution: he is to imperfect as expression of the Spirit, mind itself a too limited form and
instrumentation; mind is only a middle term of consciousness, the mental being can only be a
if his mind is capable of opening to what exceeds it, then there is no reason
why man himself should not arrive at supermind and supermanhood or at least lend his mentality,
life and body to an evolution of that greater term of the Spirit manifesting in Nature." (Ibid., p. 847)
So what Sri Aurobindo proposes to us is a new vision of life, new mode of being in
which all parts of the human life attain their own place and find their deepest truth. Sri Aurobindo
gives to us not a religion with some sort of rigid dogma and practice but the spiritual way. He says
that the God lives within us and our only credo and dogma is the inner law of our being. We do
not have any need in churches because the Divine is omnipresent, there are no priests because
we have One Priest which is the Divine. What is important in spirituality is the inner experience
of the Divine. Sri Aurobindo's philosophy describes the relation between man and the
Divine Consciousness, saying to us that the very nature of man is the Divine, and that is an ultimate
truth which we have to discover.
Experience of Sri Aurobindo is the same as of the ancient Rishis that "All is the
Brahman." He deals with the true nature of matter which is the one with the spirit. Sri Aurobindo
says, "perceiving behind their appearances the identity in essence of these two extreme terms
of existence, we are able to say in the very language of those ancient writings, "Matter also
is Brahman", and to give its full value to the vigorous figure by which the physical universe
is described as the external body of the Divine Being." (Ibid., p. 6) So, Sri Aurobindo
reunites essential truth of this world, taking from asceticism the spiritual element, which is missing in
the European civilisation, and he secures its strong vitality, ever-inquiring reason and capacity
to deal with physical reality which is missing in India. He says that they both are parts of
one supreme truthmanifestation of the Divine in matter. Sri Aurobindo integrates the truth
from asceticism, which sees static aspect of the Brahman, and dynamism of materialism which
perceives the multiple manifestations of the dynamic aspect of the Brahman with his own vision
of the essential consciousness in the matter and in the spirit which are two modes of being of
the one entity.
Sri Aurobindo's explanation of the processes of the universe describes two
movements: the process of evolution and the process of involution. He says, "Life is already involved
in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of
and mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher
states which are beyond Mind." (Ibid., p. 3) According to his vision of life and conception of
the universe we see many successive stages in the development of the consciousness. We see
that its way starts in the total inconscience and steadfastly leads through matter, life, mind to
the higher stages. But if the main characteristic of consciousness is the possession of the truth,
light and bliss, then how it can grow from the inconscient?
Sri Aurobindo tells us about the Divine which descended into inconscient in the beginning of the creation. It is the Divine who secretly dwells there and possesses the supreme
Truth. According to this truth he leads the creation by the way towards the highest possible
realisation. And finally, he reveals himself in what evolved from the inconscient.
Then we perceive that in inanimate matter already dwells, as a seed of future creation,
the principles of life, mind, Supermind and the God himself makes the next step in the process
of self-revelation. New stage, new creation goes through the certain stages. And as in an
inanimate matter so in the animal we see God, who reveals himself through the principles of body and
life, and through them he is preparing new stage, stage of mind, stage of homo sapiens.
As in the matter and in the animal, so in the man we perceive the Divine which prepares
the next stage of self-revelation, the creation which will embody all of the highest aspirations
of man, the superman, or as Sri Aurobindo says the supramental being and the supramental
species on the earth. It is clear to us that it will embody truth, light, unity and immortality. In the
man as in all precedent creations there are all seeds of future creation and all principles which
nature developed before. But in the man nature gets unique possibility to overpass its own
workings, her slow terrestrial movement of evolution by a conscious evolution, and to attain the
perfection here and now.
The man has an egoistic centre of being, because nature has developed this utility in him
for action in the universe. We are born in this universe and subjected to its laws. We see that
from his very birth man develops his instruments by living in the egoistic consciousness. He
develops the body, the emotional being and the mind through the centre of all his life and this centre is
ego. All his activities are turned to his enjoyment, development and self-affirmation in the earthly
life. But if we examine the activity of an ego in man, we will see that it pursues its own ignorant
aims, making a man the superegoist, not the superman. In his consciousness the leading motives
are power, dominance, self-exaltation and self-affirmation in the outer world, and there is a
contradiction with the man's ancient aspiration toward unity, light, bliss, God, immortality which
cannot be realised in the egoistic consciousness. Instead of unity we have division among
people and everything in this world. Instead of light we have an obscurity of darkness, instead
of immortality we have transient lives in egoistic consciousness, which tries to grab from this life
all it possibly can.
We become conscious about our being as a result of the long process of terrestrial
evolution, but in our inner life and inner experiences we perceive the highest being, highest
reality which exists and existed even before the beginning of the creation. We see that this world is
full of different processes, actions, forces and happenings. Many of them act in the world
manifesting themselves through the terrestrial powers, but if we look behind the life of appearances,
we may see the other life, the others forces, which act silently but have always direct influence
upon the terrestrial processes. And even more, we begin to live in this inner secret life unseen by
the ordinary eye.
We see that ego was the helper in our life, but it became the bar. And for fulfilling
our aspiration we have to discover something other than outer nature and the outer life with the
ego as its centre. We cannot make final synthesis until we surpass our ignorance. Human mind is
an instrument of ignorance. He cannot possess ultimate truth, mind can only search for the truth.
It has to develop itself into the highest principle which will be able to live in the light of
ultimate truth. It is the supramental consciousness where truth does not divide itself.
All of our intuitive knowledge insists on the possibility of the other way, and it is leading
us inward to the very depths of our being where we find God, who secretly leads us all the
time. We see yoga as the means to make a passage from human ignorant state to the Divine state
of being. Sri Aurobindo says that our way and environment is the universal nature, the
universal Mother; our aim is the Transcendent, Ishwara, Lord, supreme Soul, God; we are the
individual, the unlimited consciousness, who marches by this terrestrial way to realise its own secret
truth. Sri Aurobindo says that "the contact of the human and individual consciousness with the
divine is the very essence of Yoga." (The Synthesis of
Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 27) We find the
Divine reality which embodies all our aspirations to the light, bliss, unity and immortality. With
this revelation we discover the two poles of beingthe inward, where the centre is the
psychic being, and the outward with life of ego. In the outward life we see mechanical evolution,
which does not carry any other sense than the survival of species. And in the inward life we see
the God, who realises himself through the universal Mother, Goddess Shakti.
And we find ourselves between two poles of being: one is imperfect, crude, full of
suffering; and the other is perfect, blissful, which is the Supreme. We become aware of nature,
our universal Mother, which gave to us our birth. We are born from it and will fade in it with
time. Living our life we become aware of grief and suffering, sorrow and pain in this world. We
see that not only ourselves but all creations are subjected to this suffering, and that we are not
able to free ourselves or the others from it. We become aware of the limitations of our body,
mind, life, personality.
And what we have to do with all these things? What must be our attitude to this
outer world? Shall we abandon it or conquer? Indeed this is a very difficult question. And we see
that many philosophical paths regard our terrestrial life as mere illusion. We see ancient Indian
tradition of Sannyasa, which withdraws from this world and tries to cease in the Divine. We find
that Buddhist's path also affirms the withdrawal from terrestrial life. All these paths lead the
human soul to the Supreme and none of them is aimed to the terrestrial perfection. But Sri
Aurobindo says that we must ascend to the Divine, but also we must bring this realisation to the earth.
He says that we must realise that outer world is the manifestation of the Supreme Reality which
we perceive in the inner experiences. Sri Aurobindo says that the yoga is a special combination
of the different processes of the nature which hasten our evolution into the terms of single life
and allows to realise this supreme aim.
According to Sri Aurobindo's vision we find that the transcendent is not the passive being to whom we aspire, but the Supreme Soul, which works towards its full self-manifestation in
the universe, It is also seeking and helping the seeker who aspires to it. We see that universal
nature is not only the environment, which supports us in our trials with the suitable material, but
the Nature-Soul who seeks constantly through its creations to attain the transcendent and to
realise its true nature. It is the Universal Mother whose aim is "to embrace the Divine in her own
play and creations and there to realise It" (Ibid., p. 26) We find that we started our path much
earlier than we became conscious of it. We find a secret being in ourselves which leads us. It is a
soul, a spark of the Divine which dwells secretly in us and tends to reunite itself with its source in
the universal play, "the Self conditioned in its experience by Nature and working through her
formations, that attains to the Self unconditioned, free and transcendent." (Ibid.) We see that it
is not what seemed to be the mechanical evolution but the Supreme Consciousness on its way
of becoming in the terrestrial life. We start to see the Life Divine as the true meaning of earthly
life and that the ancient aspirations of the man are true and their fulfilment is the aim of
That is why, we have to live here to realise the inner perfection in the outer forms, to
make all parts of our being of the higher nature. Sri Aurobindo says that this transformation of
our being is possible only by the supramental force. Giving our consent to the Divine Mother
we have to let her to lead us through all stages of becoming to arrive at the final perfection and
the ultimate aim of our creator.
According to the Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, "the affirmation of a divine life upon
earth and an immortal sense in mortal existence" should be the ultimate preoccupation of human
race. He says that we have "
to convert our twilit or obscure physical mentality into the
plenary supramental illumination, to build peace and a self-existent bliss
to establish an infinite
freedom in a world
to discover and realise the immortal life."
(The Life Divine, SABCL 18, p. 2) Sri Aurobindo by his own example shows us the path to this realisation.
(Vladimir Nemchin is an English translator from Kiev, Ukraine)
* * *
4. SRI AUROBINDO CAME UPON EARTH ...
Sanjay R. Desai
Here is a `starter' to help you in writing your essay.
We have to look at Sri Aurobindo as a new force in action and not just as a
utopian thinker-philospher or even a yogi of the ancient order. Beyond all these he is a living
and dynamic force in action, shaking the sempiternal foundations of the mind and life and body. All his metaphysical explanations are only a rational support to the force and
action that he represents.
He is NOT a radically new-age philospherno! No! He is the force and
the consciousness of the next future. He is a power destroying the old and bringing in
a tempestuous manner the new, impatient to bring salvation to the whole of humanity.
A dancing Nataraja is Sri Aurobindo, dancing a tandava dance of creation and
destruction, driving the world to its destiny!
He is not retrieving anything from any ideological or moral or religious angle. He
is a decree from the Supreme and mankind shall follow him in the ages to come. This is
Sri Aurobindo in his essence. Rest is all explanation and justification for those
short-sighted poor me. Ananda Reddy
A nationalist? A politician? A Vedantic monk? A new-age guru? A
mystic? Who is Sri Aurobindo? What is he to us? More importantly, why should we
bother raising this issue in the first place? The lines that follow offer a modest attempt to decipher
this amazing awesome maze.
In this brief utterance the Mother tells us: "Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to teach
this truth to men. He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental
consciousness, but with a possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-Consciousness, and
capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious. During
the whole of his life upon earth, Sri Aurobindo gave all his time to establish in himself this
consciousness he called supramental, and to help those gathered around him to realise it."
Sri Aurobindo is a movement, per se, of the fact that the time of religions, schisms,
cults, abstract philosophies, breakthrough technologies, rich-poor divides is now long past. He
says that humanity is not the last rung of terrestrial creation. Man is a transitional being. What
Sri Aurobindo represents is a possibility for man equivalent to that of a fish being able to
go beyond its water-world to soar amidst the blue skies. His works are not mere rhetoric but
a wake-up call for mankind beaconing the urgent need to make a conscious choice
between resigning to being a mental creature or awakening to its true urgent destiny of going
beyond mind and acquiring the Truth-Consciousness to be the Supramental race. For the first time in
the history of the earth, a speciesour own human racehas been pushed to the brink where
it will have to decide; do we want to surpass ourselves or do we wish nature to annihilate its
best creation preferring another option. Sri Aurobindo is that opportunity which permits us to
participate consciously and wilfully in our own transformation to a future state of being. Sri
Aurobindo challenges us to an accelerated metamorphosis of transcending ourselves and being
catapulted into supermanhood. Sri Aurobindo is the symbol of that involved entity within us which has
to emerge in the Divine image. He is that milestone in the evolution of mankind which refuses
to accept that we were created by nature to be mortal. He is that shakti who asserts that it can be done, it has to be done and it will be donenot in the ethereal heavens, but here on earth,
in our very cells! In our current deplorable, self-destructive, cruel and ego-ridden state of
existence, mankind has to realise that with or without its collaboration the story of evolution
will certainly culminate in its scripted end. Sri Aurobindo is that force, which when
assumed, makes us plunge into this inevitable, unprecedented, captivating, universal adventure of
consciousness which will take us beyond man.
The Truth of Our Being
Sri Aurobindo is the key to the mystery of life. He is the revelation which tells us that
each one of us possesses deep within this urge, this zeal, this thirst which returns again and again
to bring forth a spark, a flame, a consciousness, a spirit whose aspiration is to melt into a
more profound entity which transcends the earth and the universe. He is the torch-bearer of this
truth. Each one of us carries within him this insatiable quest to unite with That which is beyond
the stars, That which is beyond all creation, the Origin, the Supreme, the Divine. This truth is
the law, the dharma of our incarnation in the human mould here on earth. Each individual
being contains within it this direct and unique relation with the Transcendental Truth, and it is
this unique relation that must be expressed through one's life. Sri Aurobindo says one is all alone
in having this exclusive relation with the Divine. Sri Aurobindo is the obstinate reminder that
rather than being blissfully ignorant of it, we must proactively live out this truth of our being.
Contrary to science, his record of yoga is proof that ultimate truth is spiritual and subjective, and it is
in this ultimate light that all objective phenomena be viewed. Sri Aurobindo's life on earth is
not merely a chronology of events but a testimony of the decent of this truth, this
extra-terrestrial force. He is that meteor streaking across the human skyline telling us that we do not really
have a choice. It is the pursuit of this truth, or it is the abyss!
A Perfect Perfection
Sri Aurobindo is the sole thundering voice which announces that this terrestrial world
has never been created to manifest imperfection, pain, suffering, and evil. Nor is God to be
found by rejecting this world as a myth or maya. He is the promise of a life that is perfectly
beautiful, harmonious, free, good, happy and a fully conscious one to be lived in. He is the golden
bridge between the time-bound mortal world, which we have come to accept as a finality, and
the luminous, spaceless, timeless eternal beyond awaiting us. In effect, it is he who has virtually
spelt out the mechanics of how this utopian state of consciousness is actually involved in our
very genes and the manifestation of the same in our material world ought to be our agenda. A
divine life in a divine body is the ideal which he envisaged and realised. As long as we will continue
to exist in a separative ego-consciousness, weas a collectivitywill always be miserable.
A drop of water thinking itself separate from the ocean can only go mad. Nor is an
individual thinking only of its own personal spiritual salvation the solution. Sri Aurobindo is, therefore,
that medium who struggled, suffered and endured selflessly to bring down that
supra-terrestrial force which is inevitable for the transformation of entire humanity. It is he alone who declares that Goda supra-cosmic forcehimself is the element behind us, upholding our fall
into darkness, pervading all life, and its miseries. And it is also He who resides within us as
that embedded ethical voice. If we somehow discover this secret divine portion within and allow
it to blossom and operate through us as an agent of the Divine, this will be our gate to
deliverance. Once we begin to live this divine presence, we will also realise that the truth of our being
is incomplete without that of our neighbour's. We finally begin to see the One in all and the all
in the One. Sri Aurobindo represents the advent of this greater supra-intellectual
consciousness which unveils before us the supreme realities that lie concealed behind the anguish of the
terrestrial world. He is the assurance that from the debris of human suffering shall emerge a new
world full of light, bliss and peace!
A Pragmatic Shastra
Sri Aurobindo is not just another brand of mystic philosophy, nor is he an exercise
in abstract critical thought. His life is the record of a discipline, a methodology, a science of
exceeding Man's mental consciousnesscontingent on a set of finite terrestrial sensesto
realise the truth of his being and expanding it into a cosmic, universal, spiritual delight of existence.
His yoga equips us with the roadmap to be followed to contact and bring down that force
without which the ascension to superseding the mind cannot be effected. He delivers to us that
formula, that mantra which otherwise the physical thinking mind cannot conceive of. His
documented spiritual experiences reveal to us not only the presence of regions that lie beyond the mind
but also how these can be journeyed to. He is the solid shining mirror of truth wherein we
are compelled to ask: Do we truly know ourselves? Has man conquered all the domains of
knowledge or are there other worlds yet to be explored? Sri Aurobindo provides us with the
tools with which we proceed to pierce open our evolutionary consciousness further onto
extra-terrestrial regions of a liberated intelligence. Sri Aurobindo could fashion these ideals for he
did bring down and craft these higher gradations of consciousness here on earth in a physical
body. And he did so to make them realisable to an aspiring humanity! His integral yoga is the
blueprint made available for every individual to manifest his body's soul. His is a life taken to
demonstrate that the supramental consciousness cannot only be attained but be brought down and be
made a permanent part of the earth-consciousness to effect a divine transfiguration of the human race!
A Final Note
Above all, to me personally, Sri Aurobindo is the master of the Divine Game; an
idealistic explosion reverberating through the cosmos; a volcanic prophecy beginning to erupt; an
intellectual revolutionary tempest that knocks beyond the frontiers of human knowledge; a
material envelope that defied the laws of death; a decree straight from the Divine! I end with this
quote from the Mother: "What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching,
not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme."
(Dr. Sanjay R. Desai from Vadodara, Gujarat, has a Doctorate in Management Studies)
A Selection of Essays submitted to
`The Academic Programme in Sri Aurobindo's Thought'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow
1. Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future:
The vision of unity
The term vasudeva
kutumbakham in Sanskrit refers to a condition when every being
in the world acts as part of the family of the Lord, Vasudeva. Yet the world today is full of
conflicts, major and minor. And this idea of unity seems far away. Days are punctured with news of
racial riots, events of discriminations, terrorism
news that hints of spreading discord and
separation in the name of religion, race and culture. This brings us to the following questions:
Where exactly does the vision of human unity come in? Why does it look as if unity is in trouble
these days? What level of unity are we looking at in the future and is this vision of unity so difficult
The Vision of Human Unity: Many Faiths, One Goal
Let us look first at what Sri Aurobindo says about the reconciliation of differences in The Life Divine: "The knowledge of distinctions arrives at its greatest Truth and effective use
when we arrive at the deeper knowledge of that which reconciles distinctions in the unity behind
all variations" (The Life Divine, SABCL 18, p. 381). By this statement Sri Aurobindo
clarifies two points: firstly, there is a unity behind the variations that are present in this world;
secondly, the presence of a knowledge of distinctions means that this unity can be achieved if and
when we arrive at a deeper knowledge.
The idea vision of human unity is one that arises out of a deeper knowledge.
Swami Krishnananda of the Divine Life Society puts it in his discourses on the Bhagavad gita. "As
long as the conflict between God and man is not solved, no other conflict can be solved.
The root of the trouble is the separation of the individual from the Supreme
Being." The absolute unity is one that has to be achieved through, and only through union
with the divine being.
This view of spiritual growth being the key to unity is shared, not just by the Bhagavad
Gita and by the works of Sri Aurobindo, but is something that can be seen across diverse
scriptures, faiths and practices. The unity faith , a branch of Christianity, roots with the following precepts:
1. God is the source and creator of all and is omnipresent.
2. We are spiritual beings, created in God's image, with the spirit of God living in each
3. Knowledge of spiritual principles are not enough, one must live them.
Islam too roots unity in similar terms. In his book, Islam in Focus, the late
Dr. Hammudah Abdul Atti pens, "
Human brotherhood in Islam is based on an
unshakable belief in the oneness and universality of Allah
The Muslim believes that the
unity of mankind with regard to the source of creation, the original parentage, and the final
destiny. The source of creation is Allah himself
As for the final destiny, there is no doubt in
the Muslim's mind that it will be to Allah, the creator, to whom all people shall return."
There is a clear similarity in these points of view. All the religions and faith go back to
the same destination, an unity with the source, or the Divine. Human unity is therefore not one
which comes from matter, but the spirit. The ideal goal of unity can therefore only be attained by
what Sri Aurobindo describes as in `The Evolution of the Spiritual Man': "Spirit is a final
evolutionary emergence because it is the original involutionary element and factor. Evolution is the
inverse action of involution: what is ultimate and last derivation in the involution is the first to appear
in the evolution, what was original and primal in the involution is the last and supreme
emergence." (The Life Divine, SABCL 19, p. 853)
The spirit, the Allah, the God, whatever the name, is the source from which man has
come forth. The spirit has been involved in matter and the goal is for the spirit to evolve from it.
Most faiths agree on the above goal. So where do the discord and differences come from?
Trouble in Paradise: the Vital and the
Interestingly, while we tend to view religion as a differentiating factor, the quotes in the
first part of this essay show that religion is not differentiating, but integrating. The foundations
of major religions, at least as far as unity is concerned state the same point. So there is no point
in blaming religious discord to religion or racewe are climbing up the wrong tree and will
not find the correct roots.
Religion or faith cannot be the bar to human unity. If this were so, then why do
conflicts arise between people who follow the same religion? Why did the great Kurukshetra war
arise in the Mahabharat? After all, the Kauravas and the Pandavas were of the same religion,
the same race and the same family.
Kittu Reddy of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram said in a speech that the root of all
problems related to human conflict and human unity is not that of race or religion, but one of ego
and desire. While we observe conflicts between people of different races, or different religions,
we also observe conflicts between people of different families, cousins, friends and even
brothers, or spouses. Conflicts occur at varying levels, not because they are intentional, but because
of what Sri Aurobindo puts as a conflict in standards: "the personal need and desire is primary,
the social law comes in as a secondary and usurping power"
(The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 183). There is therefore a conflict between the standard of a person and the standard of
the society. The vital desires come ahead of the spiritual evolution, which is expected. After all,
the vital has evolved more out of matter than the spirit has.
There is therefore the problem of the vital, which brings in ego and desire, bringing
conflicts between personal needs and social needs. This problem can further be extended
to conflicts between needs of a smaller society and needs of a larger society. However, the vital
is not all there is to the problem.
Sri Aurobindo says, in several places, that the spiritual goal, the Divine, the attaining
of which is the only lead to human unity, cannot, at this point of time, be grasped by the
human being. This is because, despite his evolutionary success, man is still a mental being. He views
the things around him with what he thinks in the highest in himhis mind. In fact, most of the
time, he views the things around him with a combination of the mind and the vital, which
complicates matters even more. " [The form for the Divine]'s necessity for the human soul is evident. God
is All and more than All. But that which is more than All, how shall man conceive? And even the
All is at first too hard for him
" (The Synthesis of
Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 58)
Therefore man views the Divine, the universe in bits and parts. A mental imaging of
the God comes up, followed by the ego, which comes forth with ideas such as: "My God,
my Incarnation, my Prophet, my Guru
All sectarianism ..."
(The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 59) So we see the root of the problem is not the idea of religion or the different kinds
of faith, but a mental imaging that is warped by the ego into something sectarian.
Yet, the true yoga and evolution is not sectarian, but something that synthesises the all
and finds the one in all. This is the evolution that leads to the ideal unity. Sri Aurobindo describes
this synthesis as: "... the sadhaka of integral yoga will not be satisfied until he has included all
other names and forms of Deity in his own conception, seen his own Ishta Devata in all others,
unified all Avatars in the unity of Him who descends in the Avatar, welded
the truth in all teachings into the harmony of the Eternal Wisdom."
(The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, pp. 59_60)
Levels of Unity
All around the world, attempts are being made to implement unity. For several
practical reasons, it makes sense for people to be united than divided. Peace treaties are being
signed, nobel prizes awarded for peace, conferences organised, but somehow nothing seems to
work. Perhaps, once again, we are climbing up the wrong tree?
I refer once again to Swami Krishnananda who says: "We are trying to achieve
external unity through institutions like the United Nations Organization, for instance. But broken
pieces of glass cannot be put together by the use of even the best gum. You have to melt the pieces
and recast them to make the glass whole once again, and this is what has to be done by
these organisations. We do not, however, know the secret and hope to succeed merely by
conferences, etc. The individuals have to be melted into the Absolute, and only then can
there be real unity."
The imagery is a very vivid one. What is necessary is not a gluing of pieces, a
superficial `understanding' of cultures, but a fundamental change in the nature of the being.
In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo says: "There can be no artificial escape from [the problem
of evil and falsehood]
there can be no final solution until we have turned our inconscience
into the greater consciousness, made the truth of self and spirit our life-basis and transformed
our ignorance into a higher knowledg." (The Life
Divine, SABCL 20, p. 627) Elsewhere he says, what is required is not a compromise.
A compromise may be imposed between the various demands, but it is not a solution.
The use of a compromise is to salve over the difficulty and in the end increase the complexity of
the problem and multiply the issues. What is a necessary and a sufficient condition for a solution
is to call-in a new principle that is higher than the two conflicting instincts.
Any peace treaty will be a compromise, an agreement. Yet, it is not a final solution,
which is why most treaties get broken by the next politician who takes the chair. This mental
process by which pieces of glass are glued together is not going to result in unity. What is required is
an integral transformation, the advent of a new principle.
Ending with a Positive Note
I read a story a few days ago about a baby hippopotamus which had lost its mother in
the recent Tsunami. The hippo had adopted as its mother, the most unlikely companion, a
tortoise. The story of the hippo and the tortoise has been broadcasted over the worldwide web as
a surprising but true story.
As I read the story, I was fascinated, not by the unlikeliness of the relationship between
the two animals, but by how these two animals have looked beyond their differences to what
unites them, that they are both creations of the Divine. I do not know what the hippo saw in
the tortoise or vice versa, but I would like to believe that they saw in each other the Divine
residing in their souls, the Divine, who is their source and their destination.
(Kiruthika Ramanathan is doing her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering
* * *
2. EVOLUTION OF FUTURE MAN
The Double Process of Evolution
This terrestrial evolutionary working of nature from matter to mind and beyond it has
a double processfirst there is an outward visible (Darwinian) process of physical
evolution with birth as its machinery and second there is, at the same time, an invisible process of the soul
(spiritual) evolution with rebirth into ascending grades of form and consciousness as its
That indicates the central motive force behind this terrestrial existence (manifestation)
is working through an in-built mechanism to put forth an evolution of consciousness into
two modes of its expressionfirst, an evolution of forms; second, an evolution of spirit.
The Triple Nature of the Evolutionary
The process of evolution has a triple nature which may be called a first widening, second
a heightening and third an integration. First of all it means a widening of the field, providing
greater room for the operation of each principle (already involved in matter as life, mind and higher
than mind principles) as it emerges. Secondly it means an ascent from grade to grade, from
lower (plants, animals) to higher species (of man and higher than ordinary man) and finally it
means taking up within itself (at reaching the highest gradee.g., the man as the crescent of
current evolution) all the previous lower grades and transforming them in turn.
This final stage of integration thus implies a further ascent through a corresponding
descenta descent of higher principle (e.g., higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind,
overmind, Supermind, Sachchidananda) into all their lower ones (mind, vital, physical, subconscient
and inconscient parts) and lifting them up, in turn, for accomplishing their transformation required
for a subsequent ascent.
The Triple Phases of the Evolutionary Process
The staring-point of evolution is the inconscience and its pre-condition is the culmination
of a preceding involution process. Its middle point is ignorance (which is the limited
knowledge) and its terminal point is the full knowledgethe gnosis. This first basic principle is the
matter. Evolution first takes place in matterlife evolved out of matter as plants and then second
the basic mind and the vital got evolved out of live matter as animals and finally third the
mind proper was evolved out of the sentient life as mental man. This conversely put may read as
"Matter is a form of veiled life; a form of veiled mind." Here a pertinent question could
be: "May not Mind be a form and veil of a higher conscious power (energy), which would
be supramental in nature taking a further ascending step towards the higher principle,
characterised by higher consciousness-spirit and the truth-knowledge?"
The answer to this may contain an emergence and in its final stage a process of
integration as has been mentioned earlier. It will carry out a conversion of the inconscient parts in us into
the conscient , spiritualising our material substance, planting the law of the gnostic
(supramental) consciousness in the whole of our being and finally changing the mental into a
Psychic Being: the Vehicle of Future
Nature, as per Sri Aurobindo, is following an ascending progression in order to manifest
more and more the divine consciousness contained in all forms. So, with each form that
it produces, nature makes a form capable of expressing more completely the spirit which
this form contains. But if it were only like this, a form comes, develops, reaches its highest point
and is followed by another form; the others do not appear, but the individual does not progress.
The individual, as a result, will not be able to progress any further as
and when he/she becomes the best type of humanity. He actually belongs to the human species and he will
continue to belong to it. So, from the point of view of terrestrial history there is a progress, for
each species represents a progress compared with the preceding species; but from the point of
view of the individual, there is no progress: he is born, he follows his development, dies and
Therefore, to ensure the progress of the individual, it was necessary to find another
means; this was not adequateMother explains. But within the individual, contained in each
form, there is an organisation of consciousness which is closer to and more directly under the
influence of the inner divine presence, and the form which is under this influencethis kind of
inner concentration of energyhas a life independent of the physical form, this is what we call
psychic being or the soul.
The outer body falls away, and this remains throughout every experience that it has in
each life, and there is a progress from life to life, and it is the progress of the same individual. And
this movement complements the other, in the sense instead of a species which progresses relative
to other species, it is an individual who passes through all the stages of progress of these
species and can continue to progress even when the species have reached the limit of their
possibilities and the species stay there or disappear depending on the case.
But they cannot go any further, whereas the individual having a life independent of
the purely material form can pass from one form to another and continue his progress infinitely.
That makes a double movement which completes itself. And that is why each individual has
the possibility of reaching the highest realisation, independent of the form
which he momentarily belongs.
The Current Evolutionary Crisis: Breaking into a New Ground
The present evolutionary crisis basically stems from a disparity between the limited
faculties present in man (reason based rationale), the ethical (religious dogmas) demands
placed on him and his growing need on spirituality and aspiration for a higher
consciousnesssubject to the limitations of the socio-economic systems and means at his disposal.
It is often claimed that reason is the highest faculty of man and that it has enabled him
to master himself and to master nature. But evidence shows, in plenty, that the reason when
applied to life and action becomes partial and passionate and the servant of other forces
than the pure truth. Reason cannot arrive at any final truth because it can neither get to the root
of things nor embrace totalityit merely deals with the finite, the separate and has no measure and
provision for the integral and the infinite. So are the shortcomings of any religion if it
cannot transcend the realm of reason and customs and superstitions, in grasping a fuller truth.
Behind the ethical law (which is a false image or at best a shadow), there exists a greater truth of a
vast consciousness without any fetters which unveils itself as the supreme law of our divine nature.
Social Evolution in a Chain Reaction
That supreme law of our divine nature (working beyond any realms of reason,
ethical values and religious dogmas) determines perfectly our inter-personal relations with each
being and the different objects of nature (both animate and inanimate) and with the totality of
the universe and creation. Modern man has not yet solved the problem of the relation of the
individual to society. Human society so far has travelled five stages of successive
progressfrom symbolic, typal, conventional, individualistic to the present rational age and is now heading for
a new subjective age to dawn upon the society.
Modern man has now realised, it is absolutely wrong to demand that an individual
(social-unit) subordinates himself to the collectively or completely merge in it loosing out his
identity, uniqueness. Because it is by the society's most advanced individuals that the collectivity
progresses and they can only advance only if they are kept free from the shackles of society-norms
and collectivity pressures.
On the other hand, it is also true that as individual advances spiritually and finds out
the supreme law of divine nature and stabilises himself on that found out supreme truth, he then
feels himself more and more united with the collectivitythis as a product of his natural
spontaneity and no more of any external and artificial pressures in the form of social-norms, customs,
rules and laws.
Future Spiritual Man in the Making
Spirituality is a progressive awakening to the inner (soul) reality of our being, to an
universal spirit and to a cosmic-self and transcendent truth-principle existing behind/beyond our
mind, life and body. Its appearance is the sign that a power greater than that of the present
man's (highest faculty of) mind is striving to emerge, in its turn, for the purpose of a next
greater manifestation upon earth.
In order to open up this new emerging possibility, nature has followed four main lines
in successionreligion, occultism, spiritual aspiration and an inner spiritual realisation. By
the spiritual realisation and experience, nature attempts to achieve the desired change from
the present mental being into an evolved spiritual man.
The Through-put of a Triple Transformation Process
The final goal of this terrestrial evolution is not only to awaken man to the supreme reality
(lying behind and beyond) and to release him from earthly bondage and ignorance into a
higher state elsewhere, but also to effectuate a corresponding transformation of the prevailing earthly
nature and existence. Further more, to get established permanently in this higher form on
the earth plane, the new order of existence demands a radical change of the entire human
nature through the above-mentioned triple process of transformation.
The human nature is thus at first subject to a process of the reversal of
consciousnessa withdrawal within to reach at the central being and follow and work out its dictates without
on the external plane. Secondly, it is subject to an opening to the universal reality of
spiritual forces around usthe boundless self, the infinity of consciousness and the eternal existence
and the ocean of bliss. Thirdly, this process of transformation culminates in a permanent
ascension to higher consciousness power and is followed by an effective descent of that
higher power into our lower nature to achieve an integral transformation.
The Supramental Summit and Manifestation
These higher powers can be reached out by a mental man at various stages; ranging
from the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind to the Supermind. However, the
ascent up to the overmind level and its subsequent descent are not sufficient to transform wholly
and permanently the inconscience and ignorance of our nature. The supramental summit and
its corresponding manifestation upon earth alone, as per Sri Aurobindo, holds the key to
achieve this desired transformation.
The Gnostic Being
All these lead to the culmination point of the man's evolutionary journey, as a mental
being and is characterised by the supramental consciousness. Sri Aurobindo calls him `gnostic
being', which is the perfect consummation of the spiritual man appearing in the near future of a
subjective age. The supramental man or the gnostic being will not only realise the harmony
of this individual self with the collective body, human society at large but also with the cosmos.
(Dr. Lokaranjan Guha from Calcutta has a Ph.D. in Engineering Management and
Environment from the University of Queensland, Australia)
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An Essay submitted to
`The Advanced Research Programme in Sri Aurobindo'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of tomorrow
Passive and Active Aspects of
the Path of Knowledge
Two Kinds of Realisation
Sri Aurobindo explains that, in the path of knowledge, the realisation of "our pure
self, pure existence above the terms of mind, life and body" (20:375) is essentially the first goal,
and that the second is the realisation of "Self or Brahman in its essential modes and primarily in
its triune reality as Sachchidananda" (20:375). Furthermore, he describes "two kinds of
realisation of Self or Sachchidananda. One is that of the silent passive quietistic, self-absorbed,
self-sufficient existence, consciousness and delight ... The other is that of the same existence,
consciousness, delight sovereign, free, lord of things, acting out of an inalienable calm ..." (20:375)
In concluding his description of the two kinds of realisation, Sri Aurobindo states: "It is the
Transcendent possessing of them both in His being and employing them both as modes of
His manifestation. This then is the object of realisation for the Sadhaka of the Integral Yoga."
(20:375) In proposing the realisation of both the silent, passive self and the masterful, active self,
Sri Aurobindo sets a goal which is both lofty and comprehensive. It results in spiritual
realisation that is not removed from life and the world, but consists of a true mastery that enables a
dynamic spiritual life in the world, integrating the higher spiritual reality and force into the
material, mental and vital existence.
Therefore, identification with the mental Purusha and the consequent realisation of
the individual self are means for further realisation, not ends in themselves. Furthermore, even
the realisation of the universal self does not complete the path of knowledge in Sri
Aurobindo's view, for he regards the integral realisation of Brahman as having passive and active
aspects. Consistent with his integrative view of incorporating life and matter in the spiritual
transformation, the experience of Brahman must extend to include the active life of the individual and
not remain only a passive, silent realisation. Sri Aurobindo sees the path of knowledge as
culminating in the realisation of the Supermind, also referred to as the truth-consciousness, which
alone contains the effective powers that can solve the problems of humanity and life in the world.
Bridging the Gap between Mind and Supermind
While it is important to recognise that the paths of works and devotion also lead to
the realisation of the Supermind, at present we are focusing on the path of knowledge because of
its more direct relevance to humanity's quest for knowledge and mastery. Because we are
mental beings, it is through the work of the mind that we strive for realisation. As Sri Aurobindo
explains: "But man is a mental and not a yet supramental being. It is by the mind therefore
that he has to aim at knowledge and realise his being, with whatever help he can get from
the supramental planes." (20:376) The mind itself, however, poses difficulties inherent in its
nature which must be overcome. One difficulty of particular importance is its tendency to see things
in their parts and not in their comprehensive totality, contrary to the reality of the Divine, which
is unity, oneness. One effect of this is that we tend to regard the Divine as something high
and beyond ourselves. As Sri Aurobindo states: "If we seek mentally to realise
Sachchidananda, there is likely to be this first difficulty that we shall see it as something above, beyond,
around even in a sense, but with a gulf between that being and our being, an unbridged or even
unbridgeable chasm." (20:378) It is through the eventual union and knowledge by identity that
the gap between the Divine and humanity is bridged.
Sri Aurobindo regards it as essential to discover a means of bridging the distance
which integrates the reality of the higher consciousness into the mind, life and entire being. He rules
out yogic trance as an answer to the problem because when one comes out of trance, one
returns to the mentality from which one departed, and essentially nothing has changed except having
the transitory experience of trance. For Sri Aurobindo, the goal instead is to spiritualise and
transform the mind. As Sri Aurobindo explains:
For if its [the mental being's] first possibility is to rise out of itself into a divine
supramental plane of being, the other is to call down the divine into itself so that its mentality shall
be changed into an image of the divine, shall be divinised and spiritualised. This may be done
and primarily must be done by the mind's power of reflecting that which it knows, relates to its
own consciousness, contemplates. For the mind is really a reflector and a medium and none of
its activities originate in themselves, none exist per se." (20:381)
Through this action the mind can be filled with a reflection of the divine and this can
occur most completely and effectively when the being is in a passive state. Consequently, this too
is insufficient for the integral realisation. As Sri Aurobindo states: "There must be a positive
transformation and not merely a negative quiescence of the waking mentality." (20:381) Sri
Aurobindo points the way to the transformation by explaining that there is a higher capacity inherent
within the human mind:
"... There are in the mental being divine planes superior to our normal mentality
which reproduce the conditions of the divine plane proper, although modified by the conditions,
dominant here, of mentality. All that belongs to the experience of the divine plane can there be
seized, but in the mental way and in a mental form. To these planes of divine mentality it is possible
for the developed human being to arise in the waking state; or it is possible for him to derive
from them a stream of influences and experiences which shall eventually open to them and
transform into their nature his whole waking existence. These higher mental states are the
immediate sources, the large actual instruments, the inner stations of his perfection." (20:381_382)
It is remarkable to contrast this description of the potential of the mind with Sri Aurobindo's
descriptions of its problems and limitations. We see that the mind has a higher capacity than
we are ordinarily aware, while those capacities of which human beings are often proud, the
capacities for intellectual knowledge, thought and reason, are fraught with limitations. Nevertheless
Sri Aurobindo also regards these higher mental planes as being compromised by the
dividing characteristic of the mind which separates the realisation of Sachchidananda into its parts. It
is through an ascent through the higher mental planes that a more and more integral realisation
of Sachchidananda becomes possible, but the full realisation comes only with the ascent into
the supramental plane above. As Sri Aurobindo states: "Thus identified with Sachchidananda in
the universal self-existence as the spiritualised mental being, he may then ascend beyond to
the supramental plane of the pure spiritual existence." (20:384)
A Dynamic, Integral
At this point in Sri Aurobindo's description of the path of knowledge we can see
more clearly how human beings can progress in consciousness to attaining the Supermind and
the realisation of Sachchidananda, but we may also ask again how this level of spiritual
growth relates to the individual's life in the world. For it involves what may initially appear to be such
a lofty level of consciousness as to have removed the individual from life and action. Sri
Aurobindo provides indication of this in his description of aspects of the process and the state attained,
"When the Sadhaka has followed the discipline of withdrawal from the various
identifications of the self with the ego, the mind, the life, the body, he has arrived at realisation by
knowledge of a pure, still, self-aware existence, one, undivided, peaceful, inactive, undisturbed by
the action of the world. The only relation that this Self seems to have with the world is that of
a disinterested Witness not at all involved in or affected or even touched by any of its activities.
If this state of consciousness is pushed farther one becomes aware of a self even more
remote from world-existence; all that is in the world is in a sense that Self and yet at the same
time extraneous to its consciousness, non-existent in its existence, existing only in a sort of
unreal mind, a dream therefore, an illusion. This aloof and transcendent real Existence may
be realised as an utter Self of one's own being; or the very idea of a self and of one's own
being may be swallowed up in it ..." (20:384_385)
We are faced with the possibility of existing in a static witness consciousness, unless
we push further in the realisation of the self, of Brahman, to experience this as fully our own
being and integrate this into an active awareness which we bring "down to earth," as it were, into
daily life and existence at the individual level. This further step is necessary for Sri Aurobindo's
vision of the integrality and purpose of spirituality, for he states: "The integral Yoga of
knowledge demands instead a divine return upon world-existence and its first step must be to realise
the Self as the All, sarvam brahma." (20:385) In this realisation we then approach the
challenge posed by the passive and active aspects of Brahman, which Sri Aurobindo relates to the
ancient conceptions of Purusha and Prakriti as silent witness and active nature, respectively, and
declares: "We have still to possess consciously the active Brahman without losing possession of
the silent Self." (20:387) He sees this as being accomplished through the great widening of
the consciousness in the realisation of the cosmic consciousness. For, in this, one experiences
the "realisation of the infinite One into the movement of the infinite multiplicity" (20:390).
Sri Aurobindo explains this further as follows:
"He has to concentrate on and realise the one Brahman in all things as conscious force
of being as well as pure awareness of conscious being. The Self as the All, not only in the
unique essence of things, not only as containing all in a transcendent consciousness, but as becoming
all by a constituting consciousness, this is the next step towards his true possession of existence.
In proportion as this realisation is accomplished, the status of consciousness as well as the
mental view proper to it will change." (20:391)
The realisation of the cosmic consciousness involves the complete merging of the
individual being with universal being, in which one experiences the reality of unity with all.
The individual no longer sees oneself as separate but as part of universal existence and as
participating in life as an integral part of that larger and fully comprehensive reality. This constitutes
a major change of consciousness and, as a result, human beings perceive not only themselves,
but all life and existence differently:
"We are not mind or life or body, but the informing and sustaining Soul, silent,
peaceful, eternal that possesses them; and this Soul we find everywhere sustaining and informing
and possessing all lives and minds and bodies and cease to regard it as a separate and
individual being in our own. In it all this moves and acts; within all this it is stable and immutable.
Having this, we possess our eternal self-existence at rest in its eternal consciousness and bliss.
"Next we have to realise this silent Self as the Lord of all the action of universal Nature, the same
Self-existent displayed in the creative force of its eternal consciousness. All this action is only
His power and knowledge and self-delight going abroad in His eternal wisdom and will." (20:393)
Through the realisation of the cosmic consciousness, the individual may become fully
one with all, and experience both the passive and dynamic aspects of Sachchidananda
simultaneously. The higher universal reality becomes the complete context of one's existence and, as
a result, one is no longer subject to the impact of the ebb and flow of human events and
their related emotions. One becomes free of pain and suffering, and untouched by the movements
of the lower human nature. In the realisation of Sachchidananda one has reached knowledge
of the bliss of existence through identity with it. Mastery of life through this higher knowledge is
a fulfillment of the path of knowledge, the quest for higher truth of existence.
Impact on Life in the World
Once again, though, we may ask how this relates to the individual's life in the world.
For though Sri Aurobindo describes the realisation as consisting of both passive and active
aspects, we might also question how the individual participates in this. Is the individual absorbed into
this greater reality or does the individual continue as an identifiable entity. Sri Aurobindo
explains that the individual can still maintain the distinctness of individual existence, for we "preserve the
individual consciousness of the Jivatman in the cosmic consciousness of the universal
Self" (20:394). We continue to live in our individual minds and bodies, while participating in the
larger existence, integrating individuality with universality, and the witness consciousness with an
active participation in the play of existence. Sri Aurobindo also explains that the height of
realisation in the path of knowledge is "to dissolve the personality in universal being, to
liberate even the soul-form into the universality of the Spirit" (20:395). The result, he explains, is
a complete change of consciousness:
"It is evident that by dwelling in this cosmic consciousness our whole experience
and valuation of everything in the universe will be radically changed. As individual egos we dwell
in the Ignorance and judge everything by a broken, partial and personal standard of
knowledge; we experience everything according to the capacity of a limited consciousness and force
and are therefore unable to give a divine response or set true value upon any part of cosmic
experience. We experience limitation, weakness, incapacity, grief, pain, struggle and its
contradictory emotions or the opposite of these things as opposites in an eternal duality and not in
the eternity of an absolute good and happiness
"By entering into the cosmic consciousness we participate in that all-vision and see
everything in the values of the Infinite and the One. Limitation itself, ignorance itself change
their meaning for us. Ignorance changes into a particular action of the divine knowledge, strength
and weakness and incapacity into a free putting forth and holding back various measures of
divine Force, joy and grief, pleasure and pain into a mastering and a suffering of divine delight,
struggle into a balancing of forces and values in the divine harmony. We do not suffer by the
limitations of our mind, life and body; for we no longer live in these but in the infinity of the Spirit, and
these we view in their right value and place and purpose in the manifestation, as degrees of
the supreme being, conscious-force and delight of Sachchidananda veiling and manifesting
Himself in the cosmos." (20:395_396)
With the realisation of the cosmic consciousness and the liberation into oneness which
this constitutes, the being is free from suffering and experiences the joy of union with all
existence. Sri Aurobindo explains that it is important for spiritual realisation to consist not only of an
ascent of the being, but also of a descent, bringing down the realisation into life on the lower planes
of existence. In doing so, the way is opened for the Divine influence to transform human nature
and make the realisation integral by including mind, life and body. Sri Aurobindo's emphasis on
the dynamism of spiritual realisation and its role as a force for change is consistent through each
of the stages of spiritual progress which he envisions. In relation to the cosmic consciousness
and Sachchidananda he states:
"If we can break down the veil of the intellectual, emotional, sensational mind which
our ordinary existence has built between us and the Divine, we can take up through the
Truth-mind all our mental, vital and physical experience and offer it up to the spiritualthis was the
secret or mystic sense of the old Vedic `sacrifice'to be converted into the terms of the infinite
truth of Sachchidananda, and we can receive the powers and illuminations of the infinite Existence in
forms of a divine knowledge, will and delight to be imposed on our mentality, vitality,
physical existence till the lower is transformed into the perfect vessel of the higher." (20:399_400)
The attainment of the cosmic consciousness and the integration of it into life in the
world, incorporating the knowledge and mastery inherent in it, is an important aspect of the
fulfillment of the path of knowledge. For we are not only to realise the harmony and oneness of
the universal reality of existence and experience the joy of Sachchidananda, but also to manifest
this throughout the being. We are, in effect, to become that, not only in a passive state of
consciousness, but also in a dynamic realisation that is put into play in life and the world. Sri
Aurobindo summarises this goal as follows:
"The complete realisation of unity is therefore the essence of the integral knowledge and
of the integral Yoga. To know Sachchidananda one in Himself and one in all His manifestation
is the basis of knowledge; to make that vision of oneness real to the consciousness in its status
and in its action and to become that by merging the sense of separate individuality in the sense
of unity with the being and with all beings is its effectuation in the yoga of knowledge; to live,
think, feel, will and act in that sense of unity is its effectuation in the individual being and the
individual life. This realisation of oneness and this practice of oneness in difference is the whole of
the Yoga." (20:402)
This statement not only indicates the meaning Sri Aurobindo intends when he writes
of knowledge, but it summarises the nature and purpose of the integral yoga. In considering
its significance, we can conclude that the path of knowledge leads to a level of knowledge
and mastery that is comprehensive and integral, which encompasses the heights of spiritual
consciousness and brings these down into the human mind, body and life to effect a
complete change of consciousness.
Impact on Locus of Control
We can also conclude that the attainment of spiritual or integral knowledge, the
realisation of oneness, which Sri Aurobindo describes, results in a very different perception of locus
of control from that of the ordinary consciousness. In attaining the cosmic consciousness,
the individual must have moved through several stages in relation to locus of control. One will
have begun at the level of the ordinary consciousness, seeking to gain a sense of mastery or
control in life through the pursuit of superficial knowledge and the assertion of individual will. Next,
one may have sought help through religious or spiritual faith, and thus have begun to transfer
some control to a higher power through offering and prayer. This constitutes an intermediate
stage before the individual begins to surrender oneself to the Divine. There follows a
progressive surrender of the entire being to the Divine, partly in the recognition of one's limited
capacities, but increasingly because the individual seeks to become one with the Divine and a true
instrument of the Divine in the world. As sincerity and consciousness progress with the
spiritualisation of the being, one recognises that true control is the Divine's alone. Then in the attainment of
the cosmic consciousness, the individual becomes one with the Divine reality of Sachchidananda
and one's consciousness is radically changed. One no longer sees oneself as separate, but
as part of all creation and the universe, and has a sense of participating in all that occurs. It is
a universal existence, but a distinct individuality also is maintained for participation in the play
of this universal existence. One feels oneself to be an instrument of the Divine Force and
knows that the Divine is in control. One attains mastery through a true knowledge by identity with
the Divine. One becomes liberated from emotional and mental suffering and enjoys the bliss of
an infinite and eternal existence.
Integral Change of Consciousness
The consequences of this change of consciousness occur on both higher and lower
levels as it becomes fully integrated into the being. Not only mind, but body and life become
transformed by the realisation of oneness. For the realisation to be complete, all of the being
and nature must be included and transformed. For this, the action of the Supermind is needed
as intermediary between the higher and lower natures, to unify and incorporate all the being
completely. Sri Aurobindo describes this:
"This transformation cannot be complete or really executed without the awakening of
the truth-mind which corresponds in the mental being to the Supermind and is capable of
receiving mentally its illuminations. By the opposition of Spirit and Mind without the free opening of
this intermediate power the two natures, higher and lower, stand divided, and though there may
be communication and influence or catching up of the lower into the higher in a sort of luminous
or ecstatic trance, there cannot be a full and perfect transfiguration of the lower nature." (20:404)
Without the complete transformation of both higher and lower aspects of the being
an uneven interplay occurs between the two in which sometimes the influence of one prevails
and sometimes the other. As this occurs, one becomes increasingly aware of the need to unite
and harmonise the two in the higher consciousness. The Supermind has the transforming and
harmonising power that is needed to make the transformation of the entire being complete
and integral, and it is the realisation of the Supermind that is the culmination of the path of
knowledge. It is also the complete change of consciousness to which the Mother and Sri
Aurobindo refer, when they write of the solution to human suffering and the human quest for knowledge
and mastery. Its power and capacity to do so are evident when we read Sri Aurobindo's
description, which also begins with an encouraging indication that without the realisation of
the supermind, human beings nevertheless receive some of its influence:
"Our direct truth-perceptions on the other hand come from that Supermind, a Will
that knows and a Knowledge that effects, which creates universal order out of infinity. Its
awakening into action brings down, says the Veda, the unrestricted downpour of the rain of
heaven, the full flowing of the seven rivers from a superior sea of light and power and joy. It
reveals Sachchidananda. It reveals the Truth behind the scattered and ill-combined suggestions of
our mentality and makes each to fall into its place in the unity of the Truth behind; thus it can
transform the half-light of our minds into a certain totality of light. It reveals the Will behind all the
devious and imperfectly regulated striving of our mental will and emotional wishes and
vital effort and makes each to fall into its place in the unity of the luminous Will behind; thus it
can transform the half-obscure struggle of our life and mind into a certain totality of ordered
force. It reveals the delight for which each of our sensations and emotions is groping and from
which they fall back in movements of partially grasped satisfaction or of dissatisfaction, pain, grief
or indifference, and makes each take its place in the unity of the universal delight behind; thus it
can transform the conflict of our dualised emotions and sensations into a certain totality of
serene, yet profound and powerful love and delight. Moreover, revealing the universal action, it
shows the truth of being out of which each of its movements arises and to which each progresses,
the force of effectuation which each carries with it and the delight of being for which and from
which each is born, and it relates all to the universal being, consciousness, force and delight
of Sachchidananda." (20:405)
This extraordinary description suggests that the Supermind provides the fulfillment of
the human spiritual quest. It is all the mastery and knowledge that one could ever seek and
occurs through unity with the Divine and an integral realisation of Sachchidananda. This
realisation occurs not only on the higher planes of spiritual consciousness, but also on the earth, active
in the play of existence and the growth and transformation of consciousness. It is a
harmonising and unifying power that transforms all aspects of being and unites them in Sachchidananda.
In the integral realisation of Sachchidananda, one attains oneness with all, unites one's will with
the Divine's will, and realises the Divine as one's self. Sri Aurobindo succinctly summarises how
the integral knowledge offers fulfillment: "The Knowledge brings also the Power and the Joy.
`How shall he be deluded, whence shall he have sorrow who sees everywhere the Oneness?' "
(20:407) Sri Aurobindo thus describes the way in which mankind's impulsion for knowledge and
mastery, when carried to its conclusion in an integral spiritual knowledge and realisation, leads to
the fulfillment of the being and the complete and lasting solution to the problems of human life.
(Martha Orton is a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University
and an M.A. from The Catholic University of America)
Distance Learning Centre
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A Peep into the Online Classroom of
Sri Aurobindo Darshan:
The University of Tomorrow
Posted: 21 Oct 2005 11:43 am Post subject: Short Essay Test Posted by Larry
Often, when people learn of our interest in Integral Yoga, they will ask, `What is
Integral Yoga?' Although we may become very excited and launch into a long discourse, we will
often see that very soon they become bored. Some people can tolerate just a one-sentence
answer. Other people, who are perhaps just trying to be polite, can tolerate one paragraph.
Therefore, to arm yourself, I would like you to compose an answer to this question,
considering that the reader (or listener) may be unfamiliar with yoga. The first sentence should
be your best one-sentence answer. Then continue with a more expansive answer for those
people who can tolerate one paragraph (say, a maximum of about 300 words).
Please try to finish this by Sunday. Enjoy!
Posted: 21 Oct 2005 06:52 pm Post subject: Short essay test Posted by Vladimir
Hi, Larry! What is Integral Yoga? It is a practical psychology. It is a group of
psychological methods which are used to improve our personality.
These methods concentrate the energies of the usual human activity into single
pointed action which modifies our personality. By these methods we gain the knowledge about
inner structure of our personality, we start to see how the parts of our being work and how
they interact with others parts and the entire world.
(I hope, you are satisfied. I tried to stay under 300)
Best wishes, Vladimir
Posted: 22 Oct 2005 06:24 am Post subject: Larry Seidlitz Posted by Larry
Vladimir, your essay is good, and very understandable. It is only 72 words, so I
have taken the liberty to add a little more in the same vein to make it a little more complete.
The addition brings it to 130 words. See how you like the addition.
"We learn how to put these parts of our nature into order, and how to improve
their functioning so they reach their higher possibilities. We discover greater, latent powers of
our consciousness, and bring these out into action in our lives and in the world around us. We
strive towards a more harmonious and fulfilling life for all."
Posted: 22 Oct 2005 08:20 am Post subject: Vladimir Posted by Vladimir
Dear Larry! Thank you very much for a wonderful addition to my post. It makes
my answer complete. Warm regards, Vladimir
Evaluation of `the Orientation Programme in
Sri Aurobindo Studies' by a few students of the course
1. Emilya Dunayets
Dear Dr. Ananda Reddy!
In the past four weeks I learned from you to discriminate better between truth and error in my own perception of The Life Divine and always look for the deeper meaning in Sri Aurobindo's words. For the first time I have experienced "free progress learning strategy," introduced by the Mother. I did not know that it is such a marvelous thing!
By your teaching strategy, I think, the limitations of my understanding Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine moved a great deal, and this experience had been so new and joyful, that I do not want this class to end! Your educating strategy was very helpful. Synopses of the text were good, but most enlightening were your notes from the lectures on The Life Divine and the short paraphrases of main points of the text of Chapter III.
In fact, I would like to see more of your interpretations of Sri Aurobindo's texts in the form of simplified and condensed ideas of the Sri Aurobindo's vast thoughts which are not easily grasped by an ordinary human mind. You can do it remarkably well. As you wrote to me once "It is my main effort to explain in simple words the undiluted truth" of Sri Aurobindo's ideas.
It would also be helpful if you would discuss the basic terms of Sri Aurobindo's writings such as Tat, Sat, Chit, etc., before the reading assignments are given as you wonderfully did it in the article "Evolution and the Destiny of Man in Sri Aurobindo."
You showed us the depth and clarity and precision as ever present qualities of the Sri Aurobindo's philosophical method and taught us to adopt these qualities in our own logic and reasoning.
Regarding Larry's class, it was the most rewarding experience of reading the first five chapters of The Synthesis of Yoga in his company. I only regret that such tremendously intense reading material had to be discussed over such a short period of time, as four weeks! I felt overwhelmed by the meaning of Sri Aurobindo's words, as they have described not only all of the past efforts of humanity on the way to the spiritual discovery, but the whole of the Integral Yoga with its methods and their workings in the future of humanity and the whole creation! Sometimes, answering questions seemed pointless to me next to this formidable vision. May be, it is necessary to make more time for this section in your future schedule. Otherwise, he always was there, always talking to us, on weekdays and weekends and giving individual evaluation to everyone, full of encouragement and appreciation.
This course was a turning point in my life and I will continue to be your student in the future.
My deepest gratitude to you as my teacher.
* * *
2. Rahul Sridhar
The Orientation Programme indeed fulfils a long-felt need in understanding and studying the thoughts and mission of Sri Aurobindo.
The course has helped in understanding the width and depth that lies hidden in the works of Sri Aurobindo. It has helped me to personally understand the exact process and meaning of Integral Yoga. This has been achieved in a short span of time, which a lifetime of cursory and unfocussed reading could not have done.
All the facilitators for every module were knowledgeable, helpful and spared no pains to ensure that each participant immersed and searched himself as well as the works of Sri Aurobindo for an answer. This has ensured that the exercise was not merely one of answering questions and passing exams but one of self-introspection. A first and significant step on the road to Integral Yoga.
Rather than stating that the course is difficult, it would be apt to say that Sri Aurobindo's writings do not belong to the usual run of writers. He invites and takes each reader of his works, through the experience that is latent in him. It is more of transmitting his ideas through the written word. This calls for a different approach to the study of his works. His style of writing matches the pattern of his thoughts and experience. This has been effectively brought out by the facilitators of every module by framing the appropriate questions to set the student's thinking on the specific track.
I can personally state that the course is an all-round success and was also enjoyable. Probably, it would attract participation in a face-to-face interactive situation. However, the web-based learning is a great tool and was exciting.
My personal best wishes for the continued success and expansion of this concept, so that the message of Sri Aurobindo reaches ever larger numbers of people.
* * *
3. Vladimir Nemchin
During Orientation Program we had three main segments. In every segment there were the main text and an additional reading. But some additional readings were unattainable. There is no electronic library in the University of Tomorrow where I could find these sources. Glossary of terms was absent in each segment also. In the course of Integral Philosophy I was able to answer your questions only due to the fact that I read ahead, because the answers to the questions posted were located not in the weekly assignments, but further in the text.
In the Integral Philosophy and Metaphysics you gave to us wonderful explanations and schemes. Your class was for me a realisation of impossible. Your questions stimulated my intellectual growth and pushed the limits of my understanding further. While in your class I had to go beyond my ordinary perceptions and reasoning. You gave all of us the stimulus to change our vision and principles of understanding the words of Sri Aurobindo. I felt myself like a child who just makes his first steps lead by the hand of a teacher.
I am very grateful to you for all you have done for me. I wonder how much more I have to discover and to accomplish.
The course with Larry was really intense, and it clarified and brought together my understanding of The Synthesis of Yoga. Moreover, during the course I gained much more insight in the systems of yoga than I had before.
In general, I enjoyed this course very much and I am intended to continue to be your student in the near future.
SRI AUROBINDO CENTRE FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH
REPORT FOR 2005
1. International Home for Scholars (IHS): a small piece of land abetting SACAR has been purchased to provide accommodation for resident scholars of SACAR.
2. On the request of Government of India, MHRD, the Director of SACAR, Dr. Ananda Reddy, visited Russia, Germany and Spain and delivered talks on Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy and Yoga.
3. Swadhyaya readings: on every Friday the Mother's works are being read and discussed.
4. The Government of Pondicherry recognised SACAR and issued permission to give certificates to students of Orientation Course in Sri Aurobindo Studies.
5. SACAR conducted workshops on `Value Education' for teachers and students.
6. Courses in The Life Divine: twice a year during February and August darshans.
7. The third semester of The University of Tomorrow has been completed successfully.
8. SACAR has published its latest book: Love and Death: Critical Essays, edited by
Dr. Ananda Reddy.
INSTITUTE OF HUMAN STUDY
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2005
1. Conducted a course on `Essential Unity of Religions' for 10th class students of SAIS.
2. Conducted six workshops on `Strengthening Education for Culture and Values' covering 300 teachers.
3. Conducted one-day seminar on `Population Explosion and its Impact on Quality of Life' on 27-2-2005.
4. Conducted 3-day workshop on "Leadership" at Champak Hills for 10th class students of SAIS in October 2005.
5. `International Day of Tolerance' was celebrated in Sri Aurobindo International School. Essay writing competition was conducted.
6. On 17th November 2005, Shri V.V. Raghava Rao gave a talk on `The Foundations of Indian Culture'. Essay writing competition on the same subject was conducted .
7. Inter-school competitions were conducted on 22-11-2005.
8. Shri C.K. Ramanatha Chetty delivered a talk on `All Life Is Yoga' on 24th November 2005 at Mataravinda Kendram, Jangaon.
9. Organised Sri Aurobindo Jayanti talk on 4-12-2005.
10. Dr. V. Ananda Reddy delivered talks on `Death of Satyavan' and `Death of Death' on 5th and 10th December 2005, respectively.
11. Awarded gold medals to the best students of SAIS.
12. Two issues of New Race were published.
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2005
1. Maintained Aditi residential school at Champak Hills. One batch after completion of 4th standard left the school on 12-4-2005. A new batch of 15 students was admitted.
2. Tailoring training centres are functioning in seven villages. Two more centres have been opened this year. Night schools are functioning in four villages.
3. Rural libraries are functioning in five villages.
4. Free Medical Centre conducted annual health check up of about 600 students. Distributed free medicines.
5. Purchased books for farmers' Agriculture Information Centre.
6. Planted 3000 trees under social forestry in the Trust land.
7. Dug bunkers under watershed development programme.
8. Conducted rural sports competitions for men and women.
9. Conducted 10-day summer camp in May 2005. Thirty children participated.
10. Conducted competitions in Janapada songs and dances for rural schools.
11. About 2000 Bio-diesel plants of Jetropha and Kanugu were planted in the Trust lands. 3000 Jetropha plants were distributed among the farmers. A plant nursery has been developed at Champak Hills.
SRI AUROBINDO ANANDAMAYI TRUST
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2005
1. SAIS students were exposed to environmental studies through lectures.
2. Relics and meditation hall maintenance.
3. Prasad distribution and prosperity dinners.
4. Medical aid to poor.
5. Land located in front of SAIS was purchased.
6. A piece of land abetting the building at Pondicherry was purchased.
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2005
1. Books on Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy and Yoga were distributed.
2. Education tour of Sri Aurobindo International School children to Pondicherry was organised. About 50 children and teachers of SAIS were taken on Education Tour.
ANNUAL REPORT FOR 2005
1. Free health checkup of students at Institute of Human Study.
2. Promotion of Fine Arts—inter-school competitions were conducted and the prizes were awarded.