In Sri Aurobindo’s yoga, the psychic being has been given a central and prominent place. With the psychic in the front and leading the yoga, everything is a joy, every moment is bliss and the yoga is done naturally and spontaneously without fear of pitfalls, while without the psychic leading, the yoga is full of pitfalls, doubts, difficulties and is an arduous tapaysa and a struggle. As Sri Aurobindo says:
…..When the psychic is in the front, the sadhana becomes natural and easy and it is only a question of time and natural development. When the mind or the vital or the physical consciousness is on the top, then the sadhana is a tapasya and a struggle. (SABCL Vol 24 pg 1109)
And stressing the great value in spiritual life of the psychic guidance, Sri Aurobindo says:
Everything is dangerous in the sadhana or can be, except the psychic change. (SABCL Vol 24 pg 1105)
And from Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, we have the following beautiful lines:
But since she knows the toil of mind and life
As a mother feels and shares her children’s lives,
She puts forth a small portion of herself,
A being no bigger than the thumb of man
Into a hidden region of the heart
To face the pang and to forget the bliss,
To share the suffering and endure earth’s wounds
And labour mid the labour of the stars. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg526)
And once again from Savitri:
In this investiture of fleshly life
A soul that is a spark of God survives
And sometimes it breaks through the sordid screen
And kindles a fire that makes us half-divine. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg 169)
Seeing the great importance given to the psychic being in the Integral yoga, through this essay, we will try to understand what exactly is the psychic being, how it is to be brought forward, what is the work of the psychic being, what is the effect of the psychic coming forward, etc.
What is the Psychic Being
The psychic being is the seat of the Divine Consciousness, the Divine Self in the individual being. It is the temple of the Divine within us. As the Mother says: “…..The psychic being is, so to say, the vehicle of the Divine, it contains the Divine, is the habitation of the Divine, but the Divine is higher than it. For the psychic being is only an aspect of the divine manifestation.” (CWM 8 pg 298). In each one of us there is present the Divine spark, the soul, which is as perfect as the Divine, being its portion. Around this Divine spark, in each evolving form, progressively, there develops the psychic presence, which is not individualised. It is something which is capable of growth and follows the movement of evolution. It is not the descent of the involution from above. It is to be the centre of growing being, which over a number of lifetimes, at last becomes individualised and becomes the psychic being. It is the Divine spark that is permanent and gathers round itself all sorts of elements for the formation of the psychic being; the true psychic being is formed only when the psychic personality is fully grown, fully built up, round the eternal divine spark; it attains its culmination, its total fulfilment if and when it unites with a being or personality from above. On being asked if the psychic being is the same as the divine spark, the Mother answered:
No, I never said that—it would be foolish! The psychic being is organised around the divine spark. The divine spark is one, universal, the same everywhere and in everything, one and infinite, of the same kind in all. You cannot say that it is a being—it is the being, if you like, but not a being. Naturally, if you go back to the origin, you may say that there is only one soul, for the origin of all souls is the same, as the origin of the whole universe is the same, as the origin of the entire creation is the same. But the psychic being is an individual, personal being with its own experience, its own development, its own growth, its own organisation; only, this organisation is the product of the action of a central divine spark. (CW M vol 4 pg 140-141)
In ancient tradition this psychic being is called the Chaitya Purusha, the purusha seated in the heart. As Sri Aurobindo writes:
The soul and the psychic being are practically the same, except that even in things which have not developed a psychic being, there is still a spark of the Divine which can be called the soul. The psychic being is called in Sanskrit the Purusha in the heart or the Chaitya Purusha. (The psychic being is the soul developing in the evolution.) (SABCL vol 22 pg 301)
As already stated this psychic being is evolutionary and it is this being which is the traveller between birth and death and which persists after death, since it is our eternal self; it is this that carries the consciousness forward from life to life. The psychic being is directly under the influence of the Divine Consciousness and the hostile forces have not even the remotest action upon it. It is the centre of light and truth and knowledge and beauty and harmony which the Divine Self in each one of us creates by its presence, slowly and gradually. The psychic being is influenced, formed and moved by the Divine Consciousness of which it is a part and parcel. It lies deep within us and it is through the psychic being that we can come in contact with the Divine in us. It is the intermediary between the Divine Consciousness and our external consciousness. It is the builder of the inner life and all turn towards spiritual life is always the result of the psychic action, whether overt or covert. The psychic being manifests in the outer nature the order and rule of the Divine will and if one is aware of the psychic being in his outer consciousness and unites with it, then one can find the pure Eternal Consciousness and live in it, grow aware of the presence of an eternal light and knowledge within us, surrender and consecrate oneself to it and be moved by it in all things, instead of living and being moved by ignorance as we constantly are. The Mother says:
For your psychic being is that part of you which is already given to the Divine. It is its influence gradually spreading from within towards the most outward and material boundaries of your consciousness that will bring about the transformation of your entire nature. There can be no obscurity here; it is the luminous part in you. Most people are unconscious of this psychic part within them; the effort of Yoga is to make you conscious of it, so that the process of your transformation, instead of a slow labour extending through centuries, can be pressed into one life or even a few years.
…….The psychic being is the real individuality of the true and divine individual within you. For your individuality means your special mode of expression and your psychic being is a special aspect of the one Divine Consciousness that has taken shape in you. But in the psychic consciousness there is not that sense of division between the individual and the universal consciousness which affects the other parts of your nature. You are conscious there that your individuality is your own line of expression, but at the same time you know too that it is an expression objectifying the one universal consciousness. It is as though you had taken a portion out of yourself and put it in front of you and there were a mutual look and play of movement between the two. This duality was necessary in order to create and establish the objectivised relation and to enjoy it; but in your psychic being the separation that sharpens the duality is seen to be an illusion, an appearance and nothing more. (CWM vol 3 pg 62-63).
And finally we have this letter of Sri Aurobindo which sheds further light on the psychic being:
…….The psychic part of us is something that comes direct from the Divine and is in touch with the Divine. In its origin it is the nucleus pregnant with divine possibilities that supports this lower triple manifestation of mind, life and body. There is this divine element in all living beings, but it stands
hidden behind the ordinary consciousness, is not at first developed and, even when developed, is not always or often in the front; it expresses itself, so far as the imperfection of the instruments allows, by their means and under their limitations. It grows in the consciousness by Godward experience, gaining strength every time there is a higher movement in us, and, finally, by the accumulation of these deeper and higher movements, there is developed a psychic individuality,—that which we call usually the psychic being. It is always this psychic being that is the real, though often the secret cause of man’s turning to the spiritual life and his greatest help in it. It is therefore that which we have to bring from behind to the front in the yoga.( SABCL vol 22 pg 288)
Psychic Being only on the earth
The psychic being is purely a terrestrial formation. It exists and is formed only on the earth and becomes individualised in the human beings. As the Mother says:
In a human being, there is the divine Presence and the psychic being—at the beginning embryonic, but in the end a being wholly formed, conscious, independent, individualised. That does not exist in the vital world. It is a special grace given to human beings dwelling in matter and upon earth. (CWM vol 5 pg 98)
And further elaborating on the psychic being present only on the earth, the Mother says:
…..The psychic is the being organised by the divine Presence and it belongs to the earth—I am not speaking of the universe, only of the earth; it is only upon earth that you will find the psychic being. The rest of the universe is formed in quite a different way.
The universe contains all the domains higher than the physical: there is a global physical comprising the mental, the vital, etc., and all the domains above the mental are domains of a spiritual order, domains which are, for us, domains of the spirit, and it is this “spirit” which little by little, progressively, materialises itself to arrive at Matter as we conceive it. The beings of the Overmind, for instance, and all the beings of the higher regions have no psychic being—the “angels” have no psychic being. It is only upon earth that the psychic life begins, and it is just the process by which the Divine has awakened material life to the necessity of rejoining its divine origin. Without the psychic, Matter would never have awakened from its inconscience, it would never have aspired for the life of its origin, the spiritual life. Therefore, the psychic being in the human being is the manifestation of spiritual aspiration; but there is a spiritual life independent of the psychic. (CWM vol 4 pg 164-165)
It is for the purpose of concentrating the work of transformation, of divine transmutation, that the psychic is there on the earth, so that the work can be concentrated at one point, at one place and thus can be accomplished more rapidly. Without the psychic, matter would not have been able to loosen the iron grip of the inconscience and aspire for the divine life. It is due to the presence of the divine spark, in each and everything on earth, that the earth enjoys its special privilege and it is the psychic being which, when fully developed, knows and expresses the will of the divine in us, fully and completely. It is to get the experience of this psychic being that the gods and the titans, desire to take human birth, though the human being is far inferior to them in many other aspects.
Generally speaking and on the whole, the psychic being, individualised, with a form and its own will, in its true sense, starts at the human stage; in the human being. In man alone there is the possibility of the psychic being growing to its full stature even so far as to be able to join and unite with a descending being, a godhead from above. But the psychic presence in a rudimentary form is already there in plants and animals. The Mother says:
This little true thing in the child is the divine Presence in the psychic—it is also there in plants and animals. In plants it is not conscious, in animals it begins to be conscious, and in children it is very conscious. I have known children who were much more conscious of their psychic being at the age of five than at fourteen, and at fourteen than at twenty-five; and above all, from the moment they go to school where they undergo that kind of intensive mental training which draws their attention to the intellectual part of their being, they lose almost always and almost completely this contact with their psychic being. (CWM vol 4 pg 26)
And further talking about the psychic presence in animals, She says:
….In animals there is sometimes a very intense psychic truth. Naturally, I believe that the psychic being is a little more formed, a little more conscious in a child than in an animal. But I have experimented with animals, just to know; well, I assure you that in human beings I have rarely come across some of the virtues which I have seen in animals, very simple, unpretentious virtues. As in cats, for example: I have studied cats a lot; if one knows them well they are marvellous creatures. I have known mother-cats which have sacrificed themselves entirely for their babies—people speak of maternal love with such admiration, as though it were purely a human privilege, but I have seen this love manifested by mother-cats to a degree far surpassing ordinary humanity. I have seen a mother-cat which would never touch her food until her babies had taken all they needed. I have seen another cat which stayed eight days beside her kittens, without satisfying any of her needs because she was afraid to leave them alone; and a cat which repeated more than fifty times the same movement to teach her young one how to jump from a wall on to a window, and I may add, with a care, an intelligence, a skill which many uneducated women do not have. And why is it thus?—since there was no mental intervention. It was altogether spontaneous instinct. But what is instinct?—it is the presence of the Divine in the genus of the species, and that, that is the psychic of animals; a collective, not an individual psychic.
I have seen in animals all the reactions, emotional, affective, sentimental, all the feelings of which men are so proud. The only difference is that animals cannot speak of them and write about them, so we consider them inferior beings because they cannot flood us with books on what they have felt. (CWM vol 4 pg 27-28)
And about the psychic presence in the vegetable kingdom and flowers, She says:
I have noticed a first rudiment of the psychic presence and vibration in vegetable life, and truly this blossoming one calls a flower is the first manifestation of the psychic presence. The psychic is individualised only in man, but it was there before him; but it is not the same kind of individualisation as in man, it is more fluid: it manifests as force, as consciousness rather than as individuality. Take the rose, for example; its great perfection of form, colour, scent expresses an aspiration and a psychic giving. Look at a rose opening in the morning at the first touch of the sun, it is a magnificent self-giving in aspiration. (CWM vol 4 pg 166-167)
And finally on being asked if there is a psychic being in the atom, the Mother replied:
No, it is not yet there. It can be said that there is a possibility of psychic consciousness in Matter—the diffusion of the divine Consciousness had only one object: to make possible an organisation which would be under the direct influence of the Divine. That is why it passes over all the worlds of disorder.1 It may hence be said that the Origin of the soul is also in the atom, in all the elements constituting the atom, but it is only the Origin…. I must tell you that when it is fully formed, the psychic being has a distinct form which corresponds to our physical form. It is not altogether similar, but it has a definite form. Every psychic being is different from another—they are not all cut out, modelled to one pattern. They are different, each has an individuality, a personality. (CWM vol 4 pg 141-142)
On the whole, from the above, we see that the psychic being as an individualised form, is only formed in human beings and on the earth, though the psychic presence in a rudimentary form is already present in flowers and the vegetable kingdom and more conscious in animals, while in the atom there is only the divine spark, the origin of the psychic. The psychic being is only present on the earth and it is a special grace of the Divine.
Work or Function of the Psychic Being
The work of the psychic being is to lead our ignorant part, the mind, life and the physical to the divine. Its function is to transform the prakriti of ignorance into the prakriti of knowledge. It is the function of the psychic being to offer all things to the Divine for transformation. Sri Aurobindo states in a letter:
This is the function of the psychic—it has to work on each plane so as to help each to awaken to the true truth and the Divine Reality. (SABCL vol 22 pg 297)
And the Mother says “it is the will of the psychic which wants to be identified with the Divine. It is the very reason for its existence. It is for that it is there.” (MCW vol 5 pg 394). And while talking to children, regarding the function of the psychic being, She said: “…one could put it this way, that it is like an electric wire that connects the generator with the lamp.” (CWM vol 6 pg 160)
And when asked what is the role of the soul? The Mother answered:
But without the soul we wouldn’t exist!
The soul is that which comes from the Divine without ever leaving Him, and returns to the Divine without ceasing to be manifest.
The soul is the Divine made individual without ceasing to be divine.
In the soul the individual and the Divine are eternally one; therefore, to find one’s soul is to find God; to identify with one’s soul is to unite with the Divine.
Thus it may be said that the role of the soul is to make a true being of man. (CWM vol 16 pg 227)
It is the psychic being which brings in true bhakti and love in the sadhana, bhakti and love which is unegoistic, unconditional and without demands. It is the psychic being which feels the contact and presence of the Mother within, which brings unerring and infallible inner guidance. It is the psychic being which knows the joy of unalloyed, unconditional surrender to the Divine, joy of self-giving, which is the very reason for its existence. It is happiest being with the Mother, offering itself in silent adoration and love.
Listing the contributions of the psychic being in sadhana, Sri Aurobindo writes:
The contribution of the psychic being to the sadhana is: (1) love and bhakti, a love not vital, demanding and egoistic but unconditioned and without claims, self-existent; (2) the contact or the presence of the Mother within; (3) the unerring guidance from within; (4) a quieting and purification of the mind, vital and physical consciousness by their subjection to the psychic influence and guidance; (5) the opening up of all this lower consciousness to the higher spiritual consciousness above for its descent into a nature prepared to receive it with a complete receptivity and right attitude—for the psychic brings in everything right thought, right perception, right feeling, right attitude.
One can raise up one’s consciousness from the mental and vital and bring down the power, Ananda, light, knowledge from above; but this is far more difficult and uncertain in its result, even dangerous, if the being is not prepared or not pure enough. To ascend with the psychic for the purpose is by far the best way. If you are thus rising from the psychic centre, so much the better. (SABCL vol 22 pg 298-299)
It is the psychic which truly makes man, the son of god, which makes man an exceptional being, so much so, that even the gods aspire to take human birth on earth, to experience the psychic being, for they do not have it. It is due to the presence of the psychic in matter, that there can be direct contact between matter and the Divine, without any intermediatires. As the Mother says:
…..if there were no psychic in Matter, it would not be able to have any direct contact with the Divine. And it is happily due to this psychic presence in Matter that the contact between Matter and the Divine can be direct and all human beings can be told, “You carry the Divine within you, and you have only to enter within yourself and you will find Him.” It is something very particular to the human being or rather to the inhabitants of the earth. In the human being the psychic becomes more conscious, more formed, more conscious and more independent also. It is individualised in human beings. But it is a speciality of the earth. It is a direct infusion, special and redeeming, in the most inconscient and obscure Matter, so that it might once again awake through stages to the divine Consciousness, the divine Presence and finally to the Divine Himself. It is the presence of the psychic which makes man an exceptional being—I don’t like to tell him this very much, because already he thinks too much of himself; he has such a high opinion of himself that it is not necessary to encourage him! But still, this is a fact—so much so that there are beings of other domains of the universe, those called by some people demigods and even gods, beings, for instance, of what Sri Aurobindo calls the Overmind, who are very eager to take a physical body on earth to have the experience of the psychic, for they don’t have it. These beings certainly have many qualities that men don’t, but they lack this divine presence which is altogether exceptional and exists only on the earth and nowhere else. All these inhabitants of the higher worlds, the Higher Mind, Overmind and other regions have no psychic being. Of course, the beings of the vital worlds don’t have it either. But these latter don’t regret it, they don’t want it. There are only those very rare ones, quite exceptional, who want to be converted, and for this they act without delay, they immediately take a physical body. The others don’t want it; it is something which binds them and constrains them to a rule they do not want.
But it is a fact, so I am obliged to state that this is how it is, that it is an exceptional quality of the human being to carry within himself the psychic and, truly speaking, he does not take full advantage from it. He does not seem to consider this quality as something very, very desirable, from the way he treats this presence—exactly that! He prefers to it the ideas of his mind, prefers the desires of his vital being and the habits of his physical. (CWM vol 6 pg 160-161)
And finally in answer to a question, the Mother says that life on earth for a psychic being is the opportunity to progress. In her own words:
You see, usually it depends on the degree of evolution of the psychic being but still every psychic being which is in a body has states of being formed in the present formation. Its work is always to transform these; it is as though this were the part of the universe given to him for his work of transformation. And even if he has a vaster mission than that of his own person, unless he does this work in his person he cannot do the other… You cannot change the outer world unless you begin by changing yourself. This is the first condition; and for everyone, great and small, old and young—old, I mean those who have lived very long, and young those who haven’t lived very long—it is always the same work. This is why life upon earth for a psychic being is the opportunity to progress.
The duration of earthly life is the time of progress. Outside earthly life there is, so to say, no progress. It is in earthly life that there is the possibility and the means of progress. But for all conscious beings it is the same thing, not only for those you call incarnated. It is for everyone the same thing. One must first begin with the work on himself. When one has done the work on himself, one can do it on others; but the first thing to do is to do it on oneself. (CWM vol 7 pg 76)
Sri Aurobindo in his Savitri, poetically describes the function of the psychic being:
Our soul from its mysterious chamber acts;
Its influence pressing on our heart and mind
Pushes them to exceed their mortal selves.
It seeks for Good and Beauty and for God;
We see beyond self’s walls our limitless self,
We gaze through our world’s glass at half-seen vasts,
We hunt for the Truth behind apparent things. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg 485)
The Psychic Transformation
In the integral yoga, there is the triple transformation of the psychic, spiritual and the supramental. The supramental transformation is not possible without the psychic and the spiritual transformation. And out of the two, the spiritual and the psychic, it is safer to begin with the psychic transformation. As Sri Aurobindo says:
The psychic is the first of two transformations necessary—if you have the psychic transformation it facilitates immensely the other, i.e., the transformation of the ordinary human into the higher spiritual consciousness—otherwise one is likely to have either a slow and dull or exciting but perilous journey…. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1094)
And at another place he writes:
The feelings and aspirations of the psychic being are all turned towards truth and right consciousness and the Divine; it is the only part that cannot be touched by the hostile forces and their suggestions. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1098)
The psychic transformation refers to bringing the psychic being in the front, making it the leader of yoga, with the outer personality of mind, vital and physical being organised around it. The psychic being infuses the mind, vital and physical and psychicsizes them, imparting and infusing in them, its own trademark qualities of love, devotion, bhakti, surrender, aspiration for the divine and the divine work. It is only when the psychic being comes to the front, that it can be said that something genuine has been done. This is referred to in all traditions as the new birth or the second birth of the being and it is also referred as the inner conversion. Giving the importance of the psychic transformation, in supramental yoga, Sri Aurobindo writes:
The soul, the psychic being is in direct touch with the divine Truth, but it is hidden in man by the mind, the vital being and the physical nature. One may practise yoga and get illuminations in the mind and the reason; one may conquer power and luxuriate in all kinds of experiences in the vital; one may establish even surprising physical Siddhis; but if the true soul-power behind does not manifest, if the psychic nature does not come into the front, nothing genuine has been done. In this yoga the psychic being is that which opens the rest of the nature to the true supramental light and finally to the supreme Ananda. Mind can open by itself to its own higher reaches; it can still itself and widen into the Impersonal; it may too spiritualise itself in some kind of static liberation or Nirvana; but the supramental cannot find a sufficient base in a spiritualised mind alone. If the inmost soul is awakened, if there is a new birth out of the mere mental, vital and physical into the psychic consciousness, then this yoga can be done; otherwise (by the sole power of the mind or any other part) it is impossible…. If there is a refusal of the psychic new birth, a refusal to become the child new born from the Mother, owing to attachment to intellectual knowledge or mental ideas or to some vital desire, then there will be a failure in the sadhana. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1095-1096)
And similarly in another letter he writes:
The psychic being is always there, but is not felt because it is covered up by the mind and vital; when it is no longer covered up, it is then said to be awake. When it is awake, it begins to take hold of the rest of the being, to influence it and change it so that all may become the true expression of the inner soul. It is this change that is called the inner conversion. There can be no conversion without the awakening of the psychic being. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1096)
We have seen how essential it is to bring the psychic being in front, for there to be any lasting and genuine conversion and change in outer nature. What exactly is meant by bringing the psychic to the front? What are the methods and the processes for the same? Sri Aurobindo, in a letter, explaining what is meant by bringing the psychic being to the front, writes:
What is meant by [the psychic’s] coming to the front is simply this. The psychic ordinarily is deep within. Very few people are aware of their souls—when they speak of their soul, they usually mean the vital + mental being or else the (false) soul of desire. The psychic remains behind and acts only through the mind, vital and physical wherever it can. For this reason the psychic being except where it is very much developed has only a small and partial, concealed and mixed or diluted influence on the life of most men. By coming forward is meant that it comes from behind the veil, its presence is felt already in the waking daily consciousness, its influence fills, dominates, transforms the mind and vital and their movements, even the physical. One is aware of one’s soul, feels the psychic to be one’s true being, the mind and the rest begin to be only instruments of the inmost within us. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1097)
And in another letter, he writes:
The conversion which keeps the consciousness turned towards the light and makes the right attitude spontaneous and natural and abiding and rejection also spontaneous is the psychic conversion. That is to say, man usually lives in his vital and the body is its instrument and the mind its counsellor and minister (except for the few mental men who live mostly for the things of the mind, but even they are in subjection to the vital in their ordinary movements). The spiritual conversion begins when the soul begins to insist on a deeper life and is complete when the psychic being becomes the basis or the leader of the consciousness and mind and vital and body are led by it and obey it. Of course, if that once happens fully, doubt, depression and despair cannot come any longer, although there may be and are difficulties still. If it is not fully, still fundamentally accomplished, even then these things either do not come or are brief passing clouds on the surface—for there is a rock of support and certitude at the base, which even if partially covered cannot disappear altogether. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1105)
And on the same subject, in another letter, he writes:
By liberated psychic being I mean that it is no longer obliged to express itself under the conditions of the obscure and ignorant instruments, from behind a veil, but is able to come forward, control and change the action of mind and life and body. (SABCL vol 22 pg 290-291)
Being clear about the importance of the psychic transformation and about bringing the psychic being to the front, the question now arises as to what is the method or process, for the same, how can we bring our psychic being to the front?
Sri Aurobindo writing to a sadhak, states:
The direct opening of the psychic centre is easy only when the ego-centricity is greatly diminished and also if there is a strong bhakti for the Mother. A spiritual humility and sense of submission and dependence is necessary. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1097)
And in another letter, he writes:
The psychic being emerges slowly in most men, even after taking up sadhana. There is so much in the mind and vital that has to change and readjust itself before the psychic can be entirely free. One has to wait till the necessary process has gone far enough before it can burst its age long veil and come in front to control the nature. It is true that nothing can give so much inner happiness and joy—though peace can come by the mental and vital liberation or through the growth of a strong samat\=a in the being. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1098)
And continuing, in another letter, he writes:
Then only can the psychic being fully open when the sadhak has got rid of the mixture of vital motives with his sadhana and is capable of a simple and sincere self-offering to the Mother. If there is any kind of egoistic turn or insincerity of motive, if the yoga is done under a pressure of vital demands, or partly or wholly to satisfy some spiritual or other ambition, pride, vanity or seeking after power, position or influence over others or with any push towards satisfying any vital desire with the help of the yogic force, then the psychic cannot open, or opens only partially or only at times and shuts again because it is veiled by the vital activities; the psychic fire fails in the strangling vital smoke. Also, if the mind takes the leading part in the yoga and puts the inner soul into the background, or if the bhakti or other movements of the sadhana take more of a vital than of a psychic form, there is the same inability. Purity, simple sincerity and the capacity of an unegoistic unmixed self-offering without pretension or demand are the condition of an entire opening of the psychic being. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1098-1099)
And in reply to the question, “What does the liberation of the psychic being mean?”, the Mother, giving some powerful means of bringing the psychic being to the front, replied:
Because one has the feeling—this is a feeling one very often has in the beginning of the sadhana—that the psychic being is as though shut up in a kind of hard shell, a prison, and that this is what prevents it from manifesting outwardly and entering into a conscious and constant relation with the outer consciousness, the outer being. One has altogether the feeling that it is as though enclosed in a box or in a prison with walls which must be broken or a door which must be forced in order to be able to enter. So naturally if one can break the walls, open the door, it liberates the psychic being which was shut in and which can now manifest externally. All these are images. But each person, naturally, has his own personal image, his personal method, with small modifications.
Some of these images are very common to all those who have had the experience. For example, when one goes down into the depths of one’s being to find the psychic right at the bottom of one’s consciousness, there is this image of descending into a deep well, going down deeper and deeper, descending, and it is as though one were truly sinking into a well.
Naturally all these are analogies; but they are associations with the experience of impressions which give a great deal of force and concrete reality to the experience.
….. To sit in meditation before a closed door, as though it were a heavy door of bronze—and one sits in front of it with the will that it may open—and to pass to the other side; and so the whole concentration, the whole aspiration is gathered into a beam and pushes, pushes, pushes against this door, and pushes more and more with an increasing energy until all of a sudden it bursts open and one enters. It makes a very powerful impression. And so one is as though plunged into the light and then one has the full enjoyment of a sudden and radical change of consciousness, with an illumination that captures one entirely, and the feeling that one is becoming another person. And this is a very concrete and very powerful way of entering into contact with one’s psychic being. (CWM vol 7 pg 266-268)
And in a number of letters written to sadhaks, Sri Aurobindo writing about bringing the psychic forward, states:
Of course the ego and the vital with its claims and desires is always the main obstacle to the emergence of the psychic. For they make one live, act, do sadhana even for one’s own sake and psychicisation means to live, act and do sadhana for the sake of the Divine. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1099)
* * *
If desire is rejected and no longer governs the thought, feeling or action and there is a steady aspiration of an entirely sincere self-giving, the psychic usually after a time opens of itself.(SABCL vol 24 pg 1099)
* * *
To bring the psychic forward, selfishness and demand (which is the base of the vital feelings) must be got rid of—at least never accepted. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1099)
* * *
Aspiration, constant and sincere, and the will to turn to the Divine alone are the best means to bring forward the psychic. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1100)
* * *
It [the psychic] comes forward of itself either through constant love and aspiration or when the mind and vital have been made ready by the descent from above and the working of the Force.(SABCL vol 24 pg 1100)
* * *
If there is the will to surrender in the central being, then the psychic can come forward.(SABCL vol 24 pg 1100)
* * *
It [the psychic being] has to be surrendered consciously and with more and more knowledge. The psychic aspires to the Divine or answers to things divine, it is surrendered in principle, but it has to develop its surrender in detail carrying with it the surrender of all the being. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1101)
And in a very encouraging reply to a sadhak, Sri Aurobindo writes:
Nothing done in the past or present can prevent the psychic from coming forward if there is the true will to get rid of these things and live in the psychic and spiritual consciousness. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1101)
And putting the things in perceptive, the Mother on being asked “what is the most effective means of awakening the psychic being?” answered:
But it is wide awake! And not only is it awake, but it acts, only you are not aware of it. It appears to you asleep because you don’t perceive it!
Fundamentally, without this kind of inner will of the psychic being, I believe human beings would be quite dismal, dull, they would have an altogether animal life. Every gleam of aspiration is always the expression of a psychic influence. Without the presence of the psychic, without the psychic influence, there would never be any sense of progress or any will for progress. (CWM vol 4 pg 165)
Having seen from the above, the means of bringing the psychic being to the front, we now examine, the effects of the same. What are the signs of the psychic coming to the front, what are its effect on one’s nature?
In a letter to a sadhak, Sri Aurobindo writes:
When the psychic being awakens, you grow conscious of your own soul; you know your self. And you no longer commit the mistake of identifying yourself with the mental or with the vital being. You do not mistake them for the soul. Secondly, when awakened, the psychic being gives true bhakti for God or for the Guru. That bhakti is quite different from mental or vital bhakti. In the mind one may have admiration or appreciation for the intellectual greatness of the man—or Guru, but it is merely mental; it does not carry the matter very far. Of course there is no harm in having that also. But by itself it does not open the whole of the inner being; it only establishes a mental contact.
The vital bhakti demands and demands. It imposes its own conditions. It surrenders itself to God, but conditionally. It says to God, “You are so great, I worship you, and now satisfy my this desire or that ambition, make me great, make me a great sadhak, a great yogin, etc.”
The unillumined mind also surrenders to the Truth, but makes its own conditions. It says to the Truth, “Satisfy my judgment and my opinion”; it demands the Truth to cast itself in the mind’s own forms. The vital being also insists on the Truth to throw itself into its own movement of force. The vital being pulls at the Higher Power and pulls and pulls at the vital being of the Guru.
Both of them (the mental and the vital) have got an arrière pensée (mental reservation) in their surrender. But the psychic being and its bhakti are not like that. Because it is in direct communication with the Divinity behind, it is capable of true bhakti. Psychic bhakti does not make any demand, makes no reservation. It is satisfied with its own existence. The psychic being knows how to obey the Truth in the right way. It gives itself up truly to God or to Guru, and because it can give itself up truly, therefore it can also receive truly.
Thirdly, when the psychic being comes to the surface, it feels sad when the mental or the vital being is making a fool of itself. That sadness is purity offended. When the mind is playing its own game or when the vital being is carried away by its own impulses, it is the psychic being which says, “I don’t want these things; what am I here for after all? I am here for the Truth, I am not here for these things.”
Psychic sadness is again different from mental dissatisfaction or vital sadness or physical depression. If the psychic being is strong, it makes itself felt on the mental or the vital being, and forces them—compels them—to change. But if it is weak, the other parts take advantage of it and use the psychic sadness to their own advantage.
In some cases the psychic being comes up to the surface and upsets the mental or the vital being and throws everything into disorder. But if the mind or the vital being is stronger than the psychic, then it casts only an occasional influence and gradually retires behind. All its cry is in the wilderness; and the mental or the vital being goes on in its own round.
Lastly, the psychic being refuses to be deceived by appearances. It is not carried away by falsehood. It refuses to be depressed by falsehood—nor does it exaggerate the truth. For example, even if everything around says, “There is no God”, the psychic being refuses to believe in it. It says, “I know, and I know because I feel.” And because it knows the thing behind, it is not deceived by appearances. It immediately feels the Force.
Also, when the psychic being is awakened, it throws out all the dross from the emotional being and makes it free from sentimentalism or the lower play of emotionalism. But it does not carry in it the dryness of the mind or the exaggeration of the vital feelings. It gives the just touch to each emotion. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1103-1104)
And in another letter , he writes:
[The signs of the psychic’s coming forward:] A central love, bhakti, surrender, giving everything, a sight within that sees always clearly what is spiritually right or wrong and automatically rejects the latter—a movement of entire consecration and dedication of all in one to the Mother. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1105)
And continuing, in another letter, he writes:
That is one part of the psychic experience—the other is a complete self-giving, absence of demand, a prominence of the psychic being by which all that is false, wrong, egoistic, contrary to the Divine Truth, Divine Will, Divine Purity and Light is shown, falls away, cannot prevail in the nature. With all that the increase of the psychic qualities, gratitude, obedience, unselfishness, fidelity to the true perception, true impulse etc. that comes from the Mother or leads to the Mother. When this side grows, then the other, the Presence, Love, Joy, Beauty can develop and be permanently there. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1105)
In another letter, he writes:
….. For when the psychic comes forward or when it strongly influences mind or vital, then one begins to see clearly and rightly about one’s own nature and action and about things and about others and to have the right feelings. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1107)
And continuing in another letter, he writes giving the nature of psychic action:
The psychic, when it acts as the main power, acts through a certain feeling and inherent psychic sense which repels the falsehood. But the ranges of mind above mind do not act in that way—there it is discrimination and will that act and their action is wider but less sure and less automatic so to speak. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1110)
If the psychic unites itself with the Divine, it cannot be separated. Separation is non-union. The psychic realisation is one of diversity in unity (the portion and the whole); it is not one of dissolving like a drop of water in the sea—for then no love or devotion is possible unless it is love of oneself, devotion to oneself. (SABCL vol 22 pg 765)
The psychic stands behind the being—a simple and sincere devotion to the Divine, single-hearted and immediate sense of what is right and helps towards the Truth and the Divine, an instinctive withdrawal from all that is the opposite are its most visible characteristics. (SABCL vol 22 pg 291-292)
And the Mother in answer to a question, states:
But even if you enter consciously into the psychic, it is dazzling; and it is within your reach because it is your own psychic being, and yet it is so different from your external consciousness that the first time you enter it consciously, it seems to you truly dazzling, something infinitely more brilliant than the most brilliant sunlight.
The psychic is what may be called “the Divine within the reach of man”. (CWM vol 4 pg 97)
And when asked the question “ By what signs can one tell that the psychic being has come to the surface?”, the Mother replied:
One feels peaceful and happy, full of trust, full of a deep and true benevolence, and very close to the divine presence. (CWM vol 17 pg 73)
And when asked another question “ How can one know whether the psychic being is in front or not?”, the Mother replied:
Who? Oneself?… It is not felt, no? You don’t feel it? I am not speaking of a small child, for it has no means of control and observation, it lacks the capacity of observation. But then, when one is no longer a baby, doesn’t one feel it? It doesn’t make a difference?… (The child nods in assent.) Ah!… There is not one of you who will dare to tell me that it makes no difference when the psychic is there, when one feels better within oneself, when one is full of light, hope, goodwill, generosity, compassion for the world, and sees life as a field of action, progress, realisation. Doesn’t it make a difference from the days when one is bored, grumbling, when everything seems ugly, unpleasant, wicked, when one loves nobody, wants to break everything, gets angry, feels ill at ease, without strength, without energy, without any joy? That makes a difference, doesn’t it? (CWM vol 6 pg 6)
And in answer to another question, She states:
If you have within you a psychic being sufficiently awake to watch over you, to prepare your path, it can draw towards you things which help you, draw people, books, circumstances, all sorts of little coincidences which come to you as though brought by some benevolent will and give you an indication, a help, a support to take decisions and turn you in the right direction. (CWM vol 4 pg 261)
I am sure this will be the experience of many of you present here.
And finally on being asked the question “ How can one know that the psychic being is in front?”, the Mother replied:
My child, when it happens, one understands. Precisely, so long as one doesn’t understand it means that it hasn’t come. This is like people asking you, “How can I know whether I am in contact with the Divine?” That itself is enough to prove that they are not. For if they are they can no longer ask the question. It is something understood. For the psychic it is the same thing. When the psychic is in front one knows it, and there is no possibility of any doubt. Consequently one no longer asks the question. (CWM vol 6 pg 396)
Seat of the Psychic
Where is the seat of the psychic being? Where should one concentrate in meditation to find the psychic being? Where exactly in the body is it located?
Sri Aurobindo replaying to a sadhak, writes:
The psychic being is in the heart centre in the middle of the chest (not in the physical heart, for all the centres are in the middle of the body), but it is deep behind. When one is going away from the vital into the psychic, it is felt as if one is going deep deep down till one reaches that central place of the psychic. The surface of the heart centre is the place of the emotional being; from there one goes deep to find the psychic. The more one goes, the more intense becomes the psychic happiness which you describe. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1115)
And in another letter, he writes:
…. The psychic being is quite different from the mind or vital; it stands behind them where they meet in the heart. Its central place is there, but behind the heart rather than in the heart; for what men call usually the heart is the seat of emotion, and human emotions are mental-vital impulses, not ordinarily psychic in their nature. This mostly secret power behind, other than the mind and the life-force, is the true soul, the psychic being in us.
….. The psychic being may be described in Indian language as the Purusha in the heart or the Chaitya Purusha; but the inner or secret heart must be understood, h\,rdaye guh\=ay\=am, not the outer vital-emotional centre. (SABCL vol 22 pg 288-289)
And in still another letter , he writes:
The psychic being in the old systems was spoken of as the Purusha in the heart (the secret heart—h\,rdaye guh\=ay\=am) which corresponds very well to what we define as the psychic being behind the heart centre. It was also this that went out from the body at death and persisted—which again corresponds to our teaching that it is this which goes out and returns, linking a new life to former life. Also we say that the psychic is the divine portion within us—so too the Purusha in the heart is described as Ishwara of the individual nature in some place. (SABCL vol 22 pg 289)
And in a letter, stating the object of concentration in the heart centre, Sri Aurobindo, writes:
The object of the concentration in the heart is to open the centre there (heart-lotus), to feel the presence of the Divine Mother in the heart and to become aware of one’s soul or psychic being which is a portion of the Divine. (SABCL vol 23 pg 747)
And in another letter, Sri Aurobindo, writes :
…..But just as one can go high above, so one can go deep within and it is this going deep within that is needed. What happened was at the surface of the emotional being and if one simply stays there the difficulties of the emotional can come, but what has to be done is not to stay on the surface but go deep within. For the psychic is there behind the emotional surface, deep behind the heart-centre. Once one reaches it, these things can no longer touch; what will be there is the inner peace and happiness, the untroubled aspiration, the presence or nearness of the Mother. (SABCL vol 23 pg 781-782)
And giving practical tips for the concentration in the heart centre, Sri Aurobindo, writes:
As for sadhana, I presume you mean by that some kind of exercise of concentration etc. For work also is sadhana, if done in the right attitude and spirit. The sadhana of inner concentration consists in:
1. Fixing the consciousness in the heart and concentrating there on the idea, image or name of the Divine Mother, whichever comes easiest to you.
2. A gradual and progressive quieting of the mind by this concentration in the heart.
3. An aspiration for the Mother’s presence in the heart and the control by her of mind, life and action. (SABCL vol 23 pg 533)
And in a elaborate answer to a question, the Mother clarifies, the inner dimension, in which the psychic being lies:
The other day I said that most of the time people do not have their psychic being within them. I would like to explain this in greater detail…. You must remember that the inner beings are not in the third dimension. If you open up your body you will find only the viscera of the body which are in the third dimension. The inner beings are in another dimension, and when I say that some men do not have their psychic being within them, I do not mean that it is not at the centre of their being, but that their outer consciousness is so small, so limited, so obscure that it is not able to keep a contact, not only conscious but intimate, with the psychic being which extends beyond it in every way; it is so much higher and deeper than the other outer consciousness that there is no relation either of quality or of nature between them. Religions say that you have a divine spark in you—it is well they call it a “spark”, for it is so small indeed that it can be placed anywhere in the body without difficulty. But this does not mean that it is in the body: it is within the consciousness in another dimension, and there are beings who have a contact with it, others who haven’t. But if you come to the divine Presence in the atom, the image is easier to understand, for there you touch so infinitesimal a domain that you are on the border-line where you can no longer distinguish between two, three, four or five dimensions. If you study modern physics you will understand what I mean. The movements constituting an atom are, in the matter of size, so imperceptible that they cannot be understood with our three dimensional understanding, the more so as they follow laws which elude completely this three-dimensional idea. So if you take refuge there, you may say that the divine spark is at the centre of each atom and you won’t be far from the truth; but I was not speaking of the divine spark, I was speaking of the being, the psychic consciousness, which is another thing. The psychic being is an entity which has a form; it is organised around a central consciousness and, having a form it has a dimension, but a dimension of another kind than the third dimension of the outer consciousness. (CWM vol 4 pg 139-140)
Does the Psychic Being have a form?
Does the psychic being have a form? Is it like the Upanishads say no bigger than the size of one’s thumb? Does the form of the psychic correspond to the physical form or is it different?
Sri Aurobindo writes:
The psychic being is described in the Upanishads as no bigger than the size of one’s thumb! That of course is a symbolic image. For usually when one sees anybody’s psychic being in a form, it is bigger than that. (SABCL vol 22 pg 306)
And in another letter he writes:
Yes, the psychic being has a form. But that does not appear from the photo; for the psychic has not always or usually a form closely resembling that of the physical body, it is sometimes even quite different. (SABCL vol 22 pg 306)
And in another letter, Sri Aurobindo, distinguishing between the characteristic form of the psychic being and its symbolic form, writes:
The soul is not limited by any form, but the psychic being puts out a form for its expression just as the mental, vital and subtle physical Purushas do—that is to say, one can see or another person can see one’s psychic being in such and such a form. But this seeing is of two kinds—there is the standing characteristic form taken by this being in this life and there are symbolic forms such as when one sees the psychic as a new-born child in the lap of the Mother. (SABCL vol 22 pg 307)
And already quoted above, the Mother has said:
…..I must tell you that when it is fully formed, the psychic being has a distinct form which corresponds to our physical form. It is not altogether similar, but it has a definite form. Every psychic being is different from another—they are not all cut out, modelled to one pattern. They are different, each has an individuality, a personality. (CWM vol 4 pg 141-142)
Thus we see that the psychic being has a distinct form which may or may not correspond to the physical form. Each psychic being is an individuality and the psychic beings are not cut out or modelled to one pattern. The psychic being can be seen by those who have the psychic vision for which of course one must know and be in touch with one’s psychic being.
The Psychic Being and Birth and Death
The psychic being is our eternal self and it that which persists after death and carries the consciousness from life to life and which takes on the perishable outer personality of mind, life and physical for its expression. It is the psychic being which evolves , undergoing and assimilating the experiences it takes from birth to birth. What role does the psychic being play in birth? What role does it play in death? At what point does it enter the body, at conception or at birth or later? Does it shape and influence the body it is going to take? Are there families of psychic beings, which take birth together?
The Mother on being asked if children enter into possession of their psychic being when they are about seven, replied:
This is not correct. There are people whose psychic being watches over their formation before their birth, even before they are in the womb of their mother. There are children whose psychic being comes into contact with them at the very moment they utter their first cry. There are also people whose psychic being comes a few hours after their birth, or some days after, or some weeks, some months, some years after or… never! (CWM vol 4 pg 140)
And at another place, in a rather long and elaborate answer, She gives the role, the psychic being, plays in birth and death.
This is what happens. Let us take a divine spark which, through attraction, through affinity and selection, gathers around it a beginning of psychic consciousness (this work is already very perceptible in animals—don’t think you are exceptional beings, that you alone have a psychic being and the rest of creation hasn’t. It begins in the mineral, it is a little more developed in the plant, and in the animal there is a first glimmer of the psychic presence). Then there comes a moment when this psychic being is sufficiently developed to have an independent consciousness and a personal will. And then after innumerable lives more or less individualised, it becomes conscious of itself, of its movements and of the environment it has chosen for its growth. Arriving at a certain state of perception, it decides— generally at the last minute of the life it has just finished upon earth—the conditions in which its next life will be passed. Here I must tell you a very important thing: the psychic being can progress and form itself only in the physical life and upon earth. As soon as it leaves a body, it enters into a rest which lasts for a more or less long time according to its own choice and its degree of development—a rest for assimilation, for a passive progress so to say, a rest for passive growth which will allow this same psychic being to pass on to new experiences and make a more active progress. But after having finished one life (which usually ends only when it has done what it wanted to do), it will have chosen the environment where it will be born, the approximate place where it will be born, the conditions and the kind of life in which it will be born, and a very precise programme of the experiences through which it will have to pass to be able to make the progress it wants to make.
I am going to give you quite a concrete example. Let us take a psychic being that has decided, for some reason or other, to enter the body of a being destined to become king, because there is a whole series of experiences it can have only under those conditions. After having passed through these experiences of a king, it finds that there is a whole domain in which it cannot make a progress due to these very conditions of life where it is. So when it has finished its term upon earth and decides to go away, it decides that in its next life it will take birth in an ordinary environment and in ordinary conditions, neither high nor low, but such that the body which it will take up will be free to do what it likes. For I do not tell you anything new when I say that the life of a king is the life of a slave; a king is obliged to submit to a whole protocol and to all kinds of ceremonies to keep his prestige (it is perhaps very pleasant for vain people, but for a psychic being it is not pleasant, for this deprives it of the possibility of a large number of experiences). So having taken this decision, it carries in itself all the memories which a royal life can give it and it takes rest for the period it considers necessary. (Here, I must say that I am speaking of a psychic being exclusively occupied with itself, not one consecrated to a work, because in that case it is the work which decides the future lives and their conditions; I am speaking of a psychic being at work completing its development.) Hence it decides that at a certain moment it will take a body. Having already had a number of experiences, it knows that in a certain country, a certain part of the consciousness has developed; in another, another part, and so on; so it chooses the place which offers it easy possibilities of development: the country, the conditions of living, the approximate nature of the parents, and also the condition of the body itself, its physical structure and the qualities it needs for its experiences. It takes rest, then at the required moment, wakes up and projects its consciousness upon earth centralising it in the chosen domain and the chosen conditions—or almost so; there is a small margin you know, for in the psychic consciousness one is too far away from the material physical consciousness to be able to see with a clear vision; it is an approximation. It does not make a mistake about the country or the environment and it sees quite clearly the inner vibrations of the people chosen, but there may happen to be a slight indecision. But if, just at this moment, there is a couple upon earth or rather a woman who has a psychic aspiration herself and, for some reason or other, without knowing why or how, would like to have an exceptional child, answering certain exceptional conditions; if at this moment there is this aspiration upon earth, it creates a vibration, a psychic light which the psychic being sees immediately and, without hesitation it rushes towards it. Then, from that moment (which is the moment of conception), it watches over the formation of the child, so that this formation may be as favourable as possible to the plan it has; consequently its influence is there over the child even before it appears in the physical world.
If all goes well, if there is no accident (accidents can always happen), if all goes well at the moment the child is about to be born, the psychic force (perhaps not in its totality, but a part of the psychic consciousness) rushes into the being and from its very first cry gives it a push towards the experiences it wants the child to acquire. The result is that even if the parents are not conscious, even if the child in its external consciousness is not quite conscious (a little child does not have the necessary brain for that, it forms slowly, little by little), in spite of that, it will be possible for the psychic influence to direct all the events, all the circumstances of the life of this child till the moment it becomes capable of coming into conscious contact with its psychic being (physically it is generally between the age of four and seven, sometimes sooner, sometimes almost immediately, but in such a case we deal with children who are not “children”, who have “supernatural” qualities, as they say—they are not “supernatural”, but simply the expression of the presence of the psychic being). But there are people who have not had the chance or rather the good fortune if one may call it that, of meeting someone, physically, who could instruct them. And yet they have the feeling that every step of their existence, every circumstance of their life is arranged by someone conscious, so that they may make the maximum progress. When they need a certain circumstance, it comes; when they need to meet certain people, they come; when they need to read certain books, they find them within their reach. Everything is arranged like that, as if someone was watching over them so that their life may have the maximum possibilities of development. These people may very well say: “But what is a psychic being?”, for no one has ever used these words in speaking to them or they have not found anybody who could explain to them all that; but for them often just one meeting is sufficient, just one look, in order to wake up; one word suffices to make them remember: “But I knew all that!”
This is exactly what happens to a psychic being which has reached the last stage of its development. After that, it will no longer be bound by the necessity of coming upon earth, it will have completed its development and will be able to choose freely either to consecrate itself to the divine Work or go elsewhere, that is, in the higher worlds. But generally, having come to this stage, it remembers all that has happened to it and understands the great necessity of coming to the help of those who are yet struggling in the midst of difficulties. These psychic beings give their whole existence to the divine Work—this is not absolute, inevitable, they choose freely, but ninety times out of a hundred this is what they do.
But in ordinary lives—and by that I mean the life of a certain ´elite of sufficiently well-developed people—the contact between the external being and the psychic is quite intermittent; it is the result of certain experiences or certain inner needs. At that moment the psychic being is “in front”, as Sri Aurobindo says, that is, it comes to the surface of the consciousness, it is in direct contact with material circumstances, with forms and words and sounds, etc., for a very short time; so it records all that like a photograph or a cinema, but it is just a minute, a few moments in a lifetime. These moments may repeat themselves several times, but they do not last; and it is this the psychic being remembers; and when you have real psychic memories, sincere, spontaneous, not fabricated by the mind or the vital, that is, purely psychic, exact, your memory is intermittent. And it is often very difficult to locate your past lives, to say: “I was this or that.” It is only when the psychic experience has taken place at a very important moment of your life and a whole set of circumstances gives you, so to say, the key to the story (dresses, spoken words, customs or an environment giving you the key) that you can say: “Oh! That life, I have lived it.” But if someone comes and narrates to you all his previous lives from the monkey onwards, with a mass of details, you may be sure that he is a humbug! (CWM vol 4 pg 143-148)
And in answer to the question, “for the past lives, are there any general rules, broad outlines, or is everything possible?”, the Mother replied:
All depends on the category to which one belongs, and the degree of the psychic being’s development. If the psychic being is in an advanced stage, near maturity, the choice before death, about which I spoke to you the other day, is quite real and this choice means that everything is possible; but in other cases, the rebirth takes place almost automatically. The will of the psychic being is not developed and it does not choose. Hence, there are no rules. It depends very much on circumstances, and especially on the line of formation which the psychic being will follow, and that depends on its origin. It is difficult to say. In the matter of sex, that may vary for a long time. As the consciousness grows and gains some unity of action, of consciousness, it can choose to follow one line to the exclusion of another, but before this choice, through innumerable creations you have been undoubtedly of different sexes. That is why perhaps some women have a masculine character, and vice versa, or have tendencies opposite to their sex. But at the time of the “choice” one may decide to belong to the creatrix Consciousness or to the immobile Witness. That depends upon the origin. (CWM 4 pg 183-184)
And in answer to the question, “when the psychic is about to enter into the world, does it choose in advance the form it is going to take?”, the Mother replied:
It is an interesting question. That depends. As I have just told you, there are psychic beings who are in the making, progressing; these generally, right at the outset, cannot choose much, but when they have arrived at a certain degree of growth and of consciousness (generally while they are still in a physical body and have had a certain amount of experience), they decide at that time what their next field of experience will be like.
I can give you some rather external examples. For instance, a psychic being needed to have the experience of mastery, of power in order to know the reactions and how it is possible to turn all these movements towards the Divine: to learn what a life of power may teach you. It took birth in a king or a queen. These enjoyed some power and during that time they had their experiences; they reached the end of the field of experience. Now, they know what they wanted to know, they are about to go, they are going to leave their body that’s now become useless, and they are going to prepare for the next experience. Well, at that time, when the psychic being is still in the body and has noted what it has learnt, it decides for the next occasion. And sometimes it is a movement of action and reaction: because it has studied one entire field, it needs to study the opposite field. And very often it chooses a very different life from the one it had. So before leaving, it says: “Next time, it is in this domain that I shall take birth….” Suppose, for example, the psychic has reached a stage of growth when it would like to have the chance of working on the physical body to make it capable of coming consciously into contact with the Divine and of transforming it. Now, it is about to leave the body in which it had authority, power, activity, the body it has used for its growth; it says: “Next time I shall take birth in a neutral environment, neither low nor high, where it will not be necessary (how to put it?) to have a highly external life, where one will have neither great power nor great misery— altogether neutral, as you know, the life in between.” It chooses that. It returns to its own psychic world for the necessary rest, for assimilation of the experience gained, for preparation of the future experience. It naturally remembers its choice and, before coming down once more, when it has finished its assimilation, when it is time to return, to come down upon earth, it cannot, from that domain, see material things as we see them, you know: they appear to it in another form. But still the differences can be foreseen: the differences of environment, differences of activity in the environment are clearly seen, quite perceptible. It can have a vision that is total or global. It can choose. At times it chooses the country; when it wants a certain kind of education, civilisation, influence, it can choose its country beforehand. Sometimes it can’t, sometimes it chooses only its environment and the kind of life it will lead. And then from up there, before it comes down, it looks for the kind of vibrations it wants; it sees them very clearly. It is as though it was aiming at the place where it is going to drop. But it is an approximation because of the fact that another condition is necessary: not only its choice but also a receptivity from below and an aspiration. There must be someone in the environment it has chosen, generally the mother (sometimes both the parents, but the most indispensable is the mother), she must have an aspiration or a receptivity, something sufficiently passive and open or a conscious aspiration towards something higher. And that kindles for the psychic being a little light. In the mass representing for it the environment in which it wants to be born, if under the influence of its own projected will a small light is kindled, then it knows that it is there it must go.
It is necessary, it is this that makes the difference in months or days, perhaps, not so much perhaps in years; however, this creates an uncertainty, and that is why it cannot foretell the exact date: “On that date, that day, at that hour I shall take birth.” It needs to find someone receptive. When it sees that, it rushes down. But what happens is something like an image: it is not exactly that, but something very similar. It throws itself down into an unconsciousness, because the physical world, even human consciousness whatever it may be, is very unconscious in comparison with the psychic consciousness. So it rushes into an unconsciousness. It is as though it fell on its head. That stuns it. And so generally, apart from some very very rare exceptions, for a long time it does not know. It does not know any longer where it is nor what it is doing nor why it is there, nothing at all. It finds a great difficulty in expressing itself, especially through a baby that has no brain, naturally; it is only the embryo of a brain which is hardly formed and it does not have the elements for manifesting itself. So it is very rare for a child to manifest immediately the exceptional being it contains…. That happens. We have heard about such things. It happens, but generally some time is needed. Only slowly it awakens from its stupor and becomes aware that it is there for some reason and by choice. And usually this coincides with the intensive mental education which shuts you completely from the psychic consciousness. So a mass of circumstances, happenings of all kinds, emotions, all sorts of things are necessary to open the inner doors so that one might begin to remember that after all one has come from another world and one has come for a particular reason.
Otherwise, if all went normally, it could very quickly have a connection, very quickly. If it had the luck to find someone possessing a little knowledge, and instead of falling into a world of ignorance, it fell upon a little bit of knowledge, everything would be done quite quickly. (CWM vol 5 pg 213-215)
And in answer to the question, “can a psychic being take birth in two bodies?”, the Mother replied:
It is not quite so simple as that…. The psychic being is the result of evolution, that is to say, evolution of the divine Consciousness which spread into Matter and slowly lifted up Matter, made it develop to return to the Divine. The psychic being was formed by this divine centre progressively through all the births. There comes a time when it reaches a kind of perfection, perfection in its growth and formation. Then, most often, as it has an aspiration for realisation, for a greater perfection to manifest yet better the Divine, it generally draws towards itself a being from the involution, that is to say, one of those entities belonging to what Sri Aurobindo calls Overmind, who comes then to incarnate in this psychic being. It can be one of those entities men generally call gods, some kind of deities. And when this fusion occurs the psychic being naturally is magnified and shares in the nature of the being incarnated in it. And then it has the power to produce emanations. These beings have the power to produce emanations, that is to say, they project out of themselves a part of themselves which becomes independent and goes into others to incarnate itself. So there can be not only two, but three, four or five emanations. That depends upon cases, it can happen thus. That is to say, one can have the same origin, psycho-divine, we might say. And generally when there are a number of emanations, the different persons feel themselves to be that being, and rightly so, for they carry in themselves something of that godhead: it is as though a part of the godhead has cast itself out of itself and become independent in another being. It is not a self-duplication but a kind of self-projection. (To the child who put the question:) Duplication gives the idea that what has been duplicated has lost a part of its capability: if you cut your body in two, only half of it will remain for you; but if you have the power to emanate something out of you, you remain quite whole, as you are, and at the same time, there is another Tara who is there in another person…. You understand? It is like that. (CWM vol 5 pg 263-264)
And talking about whether there are families of psychic beings who come on the earth together for the work, the Mother replied:
It is profoundly true in reality; there are large “families of beings” who work for the same cause, who have gathered in more or less large numbers and who come in groups as it were. It is as though at certain times there were awakenings in the psychic world, as though lots of little sleeping children were being called to wake up: “It is time, quick, quick, go down!” And they hurry down. And sometimes they do not drop at the same place, they are dispersed, yet there is something within which troubles them, pushes them; for one reason or another they are drawn close and that brings them together. But it is something deep in the being, something that is not at all on the surface; otherwise, even if people met they would not perhaps become aware of the bond. People meet and recognise each other only to the extent they become conscious of their psychic being, obey their psychic being, are guided by it; otherwise there is all that comes in to oppose it, all that veils, all that stupefies, all those obstacles to prevent you from finding yourself in your depths and being able to collaborate truly in the work. You are tossed about by the forces of Nature. (CWM vol 5 pg 2)
And on being questioned, “Does the psychic being always progress?”, the Mother answered:
There are in the psychic being two very different kinds of progress: one consisting in its formation, building and organisation. For the psychic starts by being only a kind of tiny divine spark within the being and out of this spark will emerge progressively an independent conscious being having its own action and will. The psychic being at its origin is only a spark of the divine consciousness and it is through successive lives that it builds up a conscious individuality. It is a progress similar to that of a growing child. It is a thing in the making. For a long time, in most human beings the psychic is a being in the making. It is not a fully individualised, fully conscious being and master of itself and it needs all its rebirths, one after another, in order to build itself and become fully conscious.
But this sort of progress has an end. There comes a time when the being is fully developed, fully individualised, fully master of itself and its destiny. When this being or one of these psychic beings has reached that stage and takes birth in a human being, that makes a very great difference: the human being, so to say, is born free. He is not tied to circumstances, to surroundings, to his origin and atavism, like ordinary people. He comes into the world with the purpose of doing something, with a work to carry out, a mission to fulfil. From this point of view his progress in growth has come to an end, that is, it is not indispensable for him to take birth again in a body. Till then rebirth is a necessity, for it is through rebirth that he grows; it is in the physical life and in a physical body that he gradually develops and becomes a fully conscious being. But once he is fully formed, he is free, in this sense that he can take birth or not, at will. So there, one kind of progress stops.
But if this fully formed being wants to become an instrument of work for the Divine, if instead of retiring to repose in a psychic bliss, in its own domain, he chooses to be a worker upon earth to help in the fulfilment of the Divine Work, then he has a fresh progress to make, a progress in the capacity for work, for organisation of his work and for expression of the Divine Will. So there is a time when the thing changes. So long as he remains in the world, so long as he chooses to work for the Divine, he will progress. Only if he withdraws into the psychic world and refuses to continue doing the Divine Work or renounces it, can he remain in a static condition outside all progress, because, as I have told you, only upon earth is there progress, only in the physical world; it is not acquired everywhere. ln the psychic world there is a kind of blissful repose. One remains what one is, without any movement. (CWM vol 5 pg 203-204)
Psychic Being and the Orientation of One’s Life
It is the psychic being which decides on the orientation of one’s life depending upon what experiences it wants to undergo in its earthly life. It is the psychic which organises one’s existence , usually unconsciously for most of us, and mostly in broad terms or the main lines though in case of fully awakened psychic being, the organisation of the outer life can be much more in detail.
On being questioned, “ Mother does an individual’s life depend on the experience his psychic being wants to have?” replied
I was just speaking about this with someone today, and I said that if one can become fully conscious of one’s psychic being, at the same time one understands, necessarily, the reason of one’s present existence and the experience this psychic being wants to have; and instead of having it somewhat half consciously and more than half unconsciously, one can shorten this experience and so help one’s psychic being to cover in a limited number of years the experiences it would perhaps take several lifetimes to go through. That is to say, the help is mutual. The psychic, when it has an influence on the outer life, brings to it light, order and quietude and the joy of the divine contact. But also the physical being, the body-consciousness—if it is identified with the psychic consciousness, and through that learns what kind of experience the psychic being wants to have—can help it to have these experiences in a very brief time, and not only save time but save many lives for the psychic being. It is a mutual help.
In brief, this is what yoga means. Yoga helps you to become fully conscious of your destiny, that is, your mission in the universe, and not only at the present moment but what it was in the past and what it will be in the future. And because of this knowledge you can gather by a concentration of the consciousness all these experiences in a very short time and gain lives, do in a few years what could take a fairly considerable number of lives to achieve. The psychic being goes progressively through all these experiences towards its full maturity and complete independence, its liberation—in the sense that it no longer needs any new life. If it wants to come back to the physical world, it returns, because it has something to do there and it chooses freely to return. But till then, till this liberation, it is compelled to return to have all the experiences it needs. Well, if it happens that once the physical being is developed and conscious enough and has enough goodwill to be able to become fully aware of the psychic being, it can then and there create all the circumstances, the outer experiences necessary for the psychic being to attain its maturity in this very life. (CWM vol 6 pg 447-448)
And similarly on being questioned, “Mother, is the orientation of an individual’s life directed by the psychic?” replied:
Yes. Absolutely unconsciously for the individual, most of the time; but it is the psychic which organises his existence—only in what may be called the main lines, because for intervening in the details there would have to be a conscious union between the outer being, that is, the vital and physical being, and the psychic being, but usually this does not exist. So externally, in the details… for example, there was someone who in deep perplexity said to me, “Well, if it is the psychic being or rather the Divine in the psychic who directs our life, is it He who decides the number of pieces of sugar I put in my tea-cup?” That was the question, verbatim. So the answer had to be, “No, because it is not a detailed intervention of this kind.”
It is as when you push your fist into a heap of iron filings or saw-dust, all the infinitesimal little elements of the iron filings or saw-dust are organised to take on the form of your fist, but they do not do this either deliberately or consciously. It is through the work of the consciousness which pushes that this kind of thing happens. There is no decision that each element is going to be exactly in this place, like that; it is the effect of the energy which has pushed the fist that organises the elements. But that’s how it is. There is the psychic consciousness at work in life, organising all the circumstances of your life but not with a deliberate choice of the details; and in fact very few things are deliberate and conscious in the organisation of the physical life of human beings. Most of the time that’s what happens. (CWM vol 7 pg 219-220)
Sri Aurobindo in Savitri writes:
This bodily appearance is not all;
The form deceives, the person is a mask;
Hid deep in man celestial powers can dwell.
His fragile ship conveys through the sea of years
An incognito of the Imperishable.
A spirit that is a flame of God abides,
A fiery portion of the Wonderful,
Artist of his own beauty and delight,
Immortal in our mortal poverty.
This sculptor of the forms of the Infinite,
This screened unrecognised Inhabitant,
Initiate of his own veiled mysteries,
Hides in a small dumb seed his cosmic thought.
In the mute strength of the occult Idea
Determining predestined shape and act,
Passenger from life to life, from scale to scale,
Changing his imaged self from form to form,
He regards the icon growing by his gaze
And in the worm foresees the coming god. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg 23)
The psychic guidance never errs. It is infallible in its guidance. It knows the Divine is there and nothing can shake its conviction. As the Mother says:
It is only the psychic which has a just discrimination: it is directly aware of the supreme Presence, it infallibly distinguishes between the divine and the undivine. If you have even for a moment contacted it, you will carry with you a conviction about the Divine which nothing will shake. (CWM vol 3 pg 124)
However one has to be very attentive to hear the psychic guidance, for it does not shout and it does not insist. The Mother on being asked, “when can one hear the psychic message?” replied “When one is very silent and attentive” (CWM vol 17 pg 85)
The psychic guidance manifests in the form of an understanding or knowledge rather in words and is very different from the voice of the mental purusha. On being questioned, “what is the difference between the voice of the mental purusha and the voice that comes from the depths of the heart, the psychic voice?” the Mother replied, “The psychic voice is silent—it manifests in the form of an understanding or knowledge rather than in words.” Further questioned, “Isn’t there any difference between the effect of the psychic voice and the voice of the mental purusha?” She replied, “Yes, there is great difference. It is much more difficult to hear the psychic message than the voice of the mental purusha—the latter is not infallible and is liable to err. The psychic never errs. (CWM vol 17 pg 85)
As the Mother says, it is only the psychic guide which makes no mistakes but one has to follow it without a word, without ones ideas and arguments and it will make us do the right thing at all times. In her own words
For example, you are in contact with someone, you have very good feelings for this person; you find yourself in a slightly difficult circumstance and want to do the best possible. If you act spontaneously, there is no problem before you because you act like that, one thing trailing another, and without reflecting. And you consciously want to do the best… On what will you base your judgment? What knowledge will allow you to decide: “I must do this or Imust do that, Imust say this or Imust say that or I must not say anything”—all the countless possibilities which come before you? And on what will you base your judgment? If you look at it sincerely, you will find out that at each step you do not know.
It is only if you have been in the habit of going within yourself, of referring to the inner psychic consciousness and letting it decide in yourself what you want to do, that you do it with certitude, without hesitation, without a question, nothing. You know that this is what must be done and there is no question about it; but that’s the only case. Therefore it is only when you let your psychic guide you consciously, constantly, that you are able to do consciously and constantly the right thing; but that’s the only case.
…..There is only one thing which knows in you, that’s your psychic; it makes no mistake, it will immediately, instantaneously tell you, if you obey it without a word and without your ideas and arguments, it will make you do the right thing. (CWM vol 7 pg 220-222)
Sri Aurobindo says that when the psychic being comes in front, there is an automatic perception of the true and untrue, the divine and the undivine, the spiritual right and wrong of things, and the false vital and mental movements and attacks are immediately exposed and fall away and can do nothing….. (SABCL vol 24 pg 1107-08)
The Mother on being asked “Has the psychic any power?” replied:
Power? It is usually the psychic which guides the being. One knows nothing about it because one is not conscious of it but usually it is that which guides the being. If one is very attentive, one becomes aware of it. But the majority of men haven’t the least idea of it. For instance, when they have decided, in their outer ignorance, to do something, and instead of their being able to do it, all the circumstances are so organised that they do something else, they start shouting, storming, flying into a rage against fate, saying (that depends on what they believe, their beliefs) that Nature is wicked or their destiny baleful or God unjust, or… no matter what (it depends on what they believe). Whilst most of the time it is just the very circumstance which was most favourable for their inner development. And naturally, if you ask the psychic to help you to fashion a pleasant life for yourself, to earn money, have children who will be the pride of the family, etc., well, the psychic will not help you. But it will create for you all the circumstances necessary to awaken something in you so that the need of union with the Divine may be born in your consciousness. At times you have made fine plans, and if they had succeeded, you would have been more and more encrusted in your outer ignorance, your stupid little ambition and your aimless activity. Whilst if you receive a good shock, and the post you coveted is denied to you, the plan you made is shattered, and you find yourself completely thwarted, then, sometimes this opposition opens to you a door on something truer and deeper. And when you are a little awake and look back, if you are in the least sincere, you say: “Ah! it wasn’t I who was right—it was Nature or the divine Grace or my psychic being who did it.” It is the psychic being which organised that. (CWM vol 5 pg 393-394)
And another place She says:
If you have within you a psychic being sufficiently awake to watch over you, to prepare your path, it can draw towards you things which help you, draw people, books, circumstances, all sorts of little coincidences which come to you as though brought by some benevolent will and give you an indication, a help, a support to take decisions and turn you in the right direction. But once you have taken this decision, once you have decided to find the truth of your being, once you start sincerely on the road, then everything seems to conspire to help you to advance, and if you observe carefully you see gradually the source of your difficulties…..(CWM vol 4 pg 261)
Revealing the reason behind the great difficulty of hearing the psychic voice, the Mother says:
…..between your soul and your active consciousness there are two characters who are in the habit of making a lot of noise, the mind and the vital. And because they make a lot of noise, while the soul does not, or, rather, makes as little as possible, their noise prevents you from hearing the voice of the soul.
When you want to know what your soul knows, you have to make an inner effort, to be very attentive; and indeed, if you are attentive, behind the outer noise of the mind and the vital, you can discern something very subtle, very quiet, very peaceful, which knows and says what it knows. But the insistence of the others is so imperious, while that is so quiet, that you are very easily misled into listening to the one that makes the most noise; most often you become aware only afterwards that the other one was right. It does not impose itself, it does not compel you to listen, for it is without violence.
When you hesitate, when you wonder what to do in this or that circumstance, there come the desire, the preference both mental and vital, that press, insist, affirm and impose themselves, and, with the best reasons in the world, build up a whole case for themselves. And if you are not on the alert, if you don’t have a firm discipline, if you don’t have the habit of control, they finally convince you that they are right. And as I was saying a little while ago, they make so much noise that you do not even hear the tiny voice or the tiny, very quiet indication of the soul which says, “Don’t do it.”
This “Don’t do it” comes often, but you discard it as something which has no power and follow your impulsive destiny. But if you are truly sincere in your will to find and live the truth, then you learn to listen better and better, you learn to discriminate more and more, and even if it costs you an effort, even if it causes you pain, you learn to obey. And even if you have obeyed only once, it is a powerful help, a considerable progress on the path towards the discrimination between what is and what is not the soul. With this discrimination and the necessary sincerity you are sure to reach the goal. (CWM vol 10 pg 24-26)
And distinguishing between the mental guidance and the psychic guidance, the Mother says:
Communications from the psychic do not come in a mental form. They are not ideas or reasonings. They have their own character quite distinct from the mind, something like a feeling that comprehends itself and acts.
By its very nature, the psychic is calm, quiet and luminous, understanding and generous, wide and progressive. Its constant effort is to understand and progress.
The mind describes and explains.
The psychic sees and understands. (CWM vol 16 pg 426)
And on being asked the question,” What is the inner oracle?” The Mother replied:
The oracle? That is the power of divination, of foresight, of understanding symbols, and that is in the psychic being. Prophets, for example, do not prophesy with the mind, it is through a direct contact, beyond emotions, and sentiments. Sri Aurobindo even says that the Vedas, particularly, were not written with the mind and through the head. The form of the hymn, welled up spontaneously from the psychic being, along with the words.”
Further questioned, “Mother, if someone has the psychic contact, does that mean that he has this power?” She replied:
More or less, yes. The more perfect the contact, the greater the power.
It also depends on the outer possibilities of the being. But I have already explained that to you several times, I have already told you that when one enters into contact with one’s psychic, certain faculties develop spontaneously. For instance, there are people with no intellectual education who suddenly get quite a remarkable power of expression, which comes in this way, spontaneously, through the inner contact with the psychic being. (CWM 8 pg 187-188)
And finally in reply to a question, the Mother said:
Do you mean whether one can get rid of stupidity? Yes, there is a way. It is not easy, but there is a way. I have known people who were extremely stupid, truly stupid; well, these people succeeded through aspiration—an aspiration which was not formulated, had not even the power to express itself in words—succeeded in coming into contact with their psychic being. It was not a constant contact, it was momentary, at times very fugitive. But while they were in contact with their psychic being, they became remarkably intelligent, they said wonderful things. (CWM vol 4 pg 368)
There is hope for all of us.
Mother always present in the Psychic Being
The psychic being is the child of the Divine Mother and She is always present in the psychic being and it is when we have found her in our heart, that we will be always be able to be with her.
When a sadhak lamented, “O Mother, what should I do? I am completely unconscious. Mother, where are you?”
The Mother replied
In your psychic being—I am always present there. It is there that you can find me and must find me, and when you have found me there, in the depths of your heart, you will also recognise me in my physical form. (CWM vol 17 pg 67-68)
To another sadhak, She advices
Observe silence in your mind, go into the solitude of your psychic being and you will find me there. (CWM vol 17 pg 99)
And to another sadhak, She writes:
Certainly, your psychic being is my child, and it knows it very well (CWM vol 17 pg 113)
I am always seated in your heart, consciously living in you. (CWM vol 13 pg 66)
…..the inner being which fell in union with the Mother is the psychic being (At the feet of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo pg 185)
And Sri Aurobindo writes to a sadhak:
The best way is to live in the psychic being, for that is always surrendered to the Mother and can lead others in the right way…..(SAB CL vol 25 pg 133)
To a question, “How to convince the mind that Mother is divine and that her workings are not human?” Sri Aurobindo replied:
It is by opening up the psychic and letting it rule the mind and vital that this can be done—because the psychic knows and can see what the mind cannot. (SABCL vol 25 pg 55-56)
And to another sadhak, he writes:
It is not easy for the mind or vital or physical consciousness to get or keep the Mother’s conscious presence—it is only the psychic that keeps it easily. (CWSA vol 32 pg 289)
And in another letter, he writes:
Let the psychic being in you grow and the Mother’s force work. The relation of the child and the Mother is there in your soul; it will make itself felt in your mind and vital and physical consciousness till it becomes the foundation of the whole consciousness on which all the sadhana can be firm and secure. (CWSA vol 32 pg 455)
Culmination of the Psychic Being
We seen above, the Mother having said that the psychic being attains its culmination, its total fulfilment if and when it unites with a being or personality from above, what we usually call the gods or demi-gods. She explained this further in answer to a question, “Have all psychic beings the origin?” She replied:
This is how things happen. The origin of the psychic life, the divine Presence in Matter is one and the same, that’s understood, but there are beings in the higher world who have never taken a body upon earth and who want to act there, have a terrestrial action. So they wait till some psychic beings attain their full development and unite with them to do some work according to their nature. Their consciousness is added to the psychic consciousness upon earth. These are beings who have never taken birth here, beings who materialised themselves more and more as the creation proceeded. They are perhaps the first emanations, beings sent into the universe for special reasons— men call them “gods” or “demi-gods”. So, one of these beings may have chosen, for some special reason, a psychic being in formation—he helps it, follows its development and, when this psychic is sufficiently ready and sufficiently strong to be able to support the identification, he unites with it, identifies with it to do some work upon earth. This is not very frequent, but it has happened and still happens. You find stories in ancient traditions about gods incarnating upon earth; some mythologies speak of them. That corresponds to something true. But all psychic beings are not necessarily united with a being of the higher planes. (CWM vol 4 pg 184)
And similarly at another place, She says:
The evolutionary being is the one that’s the continuation of the animals, and the other is a being from higher worlds who, when the earth was formed, materialised itself upon earth—it does not come from below, it has come from above. But in the evolutionary being there is that central light which is the origin of the psychic being, which will develop into the psychic being, and when the psychic being is fully formed, there is a moment when it can unite with a being from above which can incarnate in it. So this being from above which descends into a psychic being is an involutionary being—a being of the Overmind plane or from elsewhere. (CWM vol 5 pg 323-324)
Thus the culmination of the psychic being, its highest fulfilment, its fullest maturity, is attained when it unites with a being of the higher plane, from the overmind plane or elsewhere.
Our special status and responsibility
Finally on the special status we enjoy on being on the earth with a psychic being and the responsibility it entails, The Mother on being questioned,” The fact of being born with a psychic being and upon earth which is spiritual symbol proves that we have each one of us a great responsibility, doesn’t it?” replied:
Surely. One has a big responsibility, it is to fulfil a special mission that one is born upon earth. Only, naturally, the psychic being must have reached a certain degree of development; otherwise it could be said that it is the whole earth which has the responsibility. The more conscious and individualised one becomes, the more should one have the sense of responsibility. But this is what happens at a given moment; one begins to think that one is here not without reason, without purpose. One realises suddenly that one is here because there is something to be done and this something is not anything egoistic. This seems to me the most logical way of entering upon the path—all of a sudden to realise, “Since I am here, it means that I have a mission to fulfil. Since I have been endowed with a consciousness, it is that I have something to do with that consciousness—what is it?”
Generally, it seems to me that this is the first question one should put to oneself: “Why am I here?”
I have seen this in children, even in children of five or six: “Why am I here, why do I live?” And then to search, with whatever consciousness is available, with a very little bit of consciousness: why am I here, for what reason?
This seems to me the normal starting-point. (CWM vol 4 pg 246)
Echoing the same thought, Sri Aurobindo writes in Savitri:
“Remember why thou cam’st:
Find out thy soul, recover thy hid self,
In silence seek God’s meaning in thy depths,
Then mortal nature change to the divine.
Open God’s door, enter into his trance.
Cast Thought from thee, that nimble ape of Light:
In his tremendous hush stilling thy brain
His vast Truth wake within and know and see. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg 476)
The answer to the question “Why I am here? What is my purpose in life?” lies in discovering one’s psychic being, for once we know our psychic being, we shall know our purpose in life, we shall know what our work is in this life and knowing the same and doing the same, will be the fulfilment of our earthly life. This earthly life would then have been truly well spent and not frivolously wasted.
And in closing, we have these lines from Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri:
Earth must transform herself and equal Heaven
Or Heaven descend into earth’s mortal state.
But for such vast spiritual change to be,
Out of the mystic cavern in man’s heart
The heavenly Psyche must put off her veil
And step into common nature’s crowded rooms
And stand uncovered in that nature’s front
And rule its thoughts and fill the body and life. (CWSA vol 33-34 pg 486-487)
- Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library(SABCL), vol 22, Letters on Yoga I
- Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library(SABCL), vol 23, Letters on Yoga II
- Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library(SABCL), vol 24, Letters on Yoga III
- Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), vol 33-34, Savitri
- Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo(CWSA), vol 32, The Mother with letters on the Mother
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 3, Questions and Answers 1929-1931
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 4, Questions and Answers 1950-1951
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 5, Questions and Answers 1953
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 6, Questions and Answers 1954
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 7, Questions and Answers 1955
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 8, Questions and Answers 1956
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 10, On Thoughts and Aphorisms
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 13, Words of the Mother I
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 16, Some Answers from the Mother
- Collected Works of the Mother(CWM), vol 17, More Answers from the Mother
Additional material on the psychic being
Disciple: I did not understand the explanation of the psychic you have given: “One could say, for example, that the creation of an individual being is the result of the projection, in time and space, of one of the countless possibilities latent in the supreme origin of all manifestation which, through the medium of the one and universal consciousness, takes concrete form in the law or the truth of an individual and so, by a progressive development, becomes his soul or psychic being.”
The Mother: It is a little philosophical…. You know the difference between what is subjective and what is objective? You know it! Well, imagine precisely this Reality we were speaking about, which is at the origin of all things, passing from the subjective to the objective state. That is, what was within becomes as though projected outside. It is the same thing: it is the state that changes. And so, within it there are all the possibilities of objective existence; within they are unexpressed, unmanifested; outside they are projected, as a picture is projected on the cinema-screen: we see it before us. And every element that was a possibility within, a law, becomes the law of a realisation. And every one of these possibilities becomes the reality of a being, of an individuality if you like, of something existing objectively. And it is that law which is the origin of the centre of the psychic being: it is the truth of the being or the law of the being. The Buddha called it the “law”, he spoke of the Dharma. It is the truth of the being. It is that which binds it again indestructibly to its origin. And that is the starting-point of the psychic being. And so, even as this develops, like the picture on the screen, it takes a more and more complex and precise form in the manifestation. But the reality of that form is one, it is bound to the One. And all the units are linked together and reproduce the One.
Is it not easier?… (Looking at the child) It is still more difficult! But indeed, that’s what I have said here.