INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRAL YOGA PSYCHOLOGY

(a project of Mirravision Trust, Financed by Auroshakti Foundation)

 
Chapters
Chapter I
Chapter II - Part 1
Chapter II - Part 2
Chapter II - Part 3
Chapter II - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 1
Chapter III - Part 2
Chapter III - Part 3
Chapter III - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 5
Chapter III - Part 6
Chapter IV - Part 1
Chapter IV - Part 2
Chapter IV - Part 3
Chapter IV - Part 4
Chapter V-Part 1
Chapter V - Part 2
Chapter V - Part 3
Chapter V - Part 4
Chapter V - Part 5
Chapter VI - Part 1
Chapter VI - Part 2
Chapter VI - Part 3
Chapter VI - Part 4
Chapter VI - Part 5
Chapter VII - Part 1
Chapter VII - Part 2
Chapter VII - Part 3
Chapter VII - Part 4
Chapter VII - Part 5
Chapter VIII - Part 1
Chapter VIII - Part 2
Chapter VIII - Part 3
Chapter VIII - Part 4
Chapter IX - Part 1
Chapter IX - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 1
Chapter X - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 3
Chapter X - Part 4
Chapter X - Part 5
Chapter X - Part 6
Chapter XI - Part 1
Chapter XI - Part 2
Chapter XI - Part 3
Chapter XI - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 1
Chapter XII - Part 2
Chapter XII - Part 3
Chapter XII - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 5
Chapter XIII - Part 1
Chapter XIII - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 1
Chapter XIV - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 3
Chapter XIV - Part 4
Chapter XIV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 1
Chapter XV - Part 2
Chapter XV - Part 3
Chapter XV - Part 4
Chapter XV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 6
Chapter XV - Part 7
Chapter XV - Part 8
Chapter XV - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 1
Chapter XVI - Part 2
Chapter XVI - Part 3
Chapter XVI - Part 4
Chapter XVI - Part 5
Chapter XVI - Part 6
Chapter XVI - Part 7
Chapter XVI - Part 8
Chapter XVI - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 10
Chapter XVI - Part 11
Chapter XVI - Part 12
Chapter XVI - Part 13
Chapter XVII - Part 1
Chapter XVII - Part 2
Chapter XVII - Part 3
Chapter XVII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 1
Chapter XVIII - Part 2
Chapter XVIII - Part 3
Chapter XVIII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 5
Chapter XVIII - Part 6
Chapter XVIII - Part 7
Chapter XVIII - Part 8
Chapter XVIII - Part 9
Chapter XVIII - Part 10
Chapter XIX - Part 1
Chapter XIX - Part 2
Chapter XIX - Part 3
 

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

 
Chapter XII Part 3

The Structure of our Being and the Realisation of Bliss.

Why can't we ordinarily feel the 'Ananda' or 'Bliss' of the Supreme Reality (Sachchidananda)?

What we call our 'personality' is a confused amalgam of thoughts, emotions and sensations mediated by the 'ego' which itself is skewed and unable to establish harmony in the system. Such a 'divided' nature cannot bear the plenitude of the Divine Bliss. In fact, the influx of the Divine rapture into our superficial nature can bring disharmony and disequilibrium. However, what we call our personality is from the Yogic viewpoint our outer being. It is not the real self.

Sri Aurobindo explains:

'… if we learn to live within, we infallibly awaken to this presence within us which is our more real self, a presence profound, calm, joyous and puissant of which the world is not the master – a presence which, if it is not the Lord Himself, is the radiation of the Lord within.' (The Life Divine, Pg. 114-115))

That 'real self' is  not affected by the pains and pleasures of our body, by the fluctuating emotions of our vital or by the doubts and prejudices of our ideas and premises. Indeed, if we can have the experiential contact with one's inmost essence, one can remain 'detached' from the outer disturbances that are possessed as passing 'experiences' which do not overwhelm the individual.

The nature of this 'inmost essence' or 'real self' is that of 'BLISS' – it is actually a 'Bliss - Self' that radiates Ananda, love, joy, purity: 'In the entirely expressive Sanskrit terms, there is an anandamaya behind the manomaya, a vast Bliss- Self behind the limited mental self, and the letter is only a shadowy image and disturbed reflection of the former. The truth of ourselves lies within and not on the surface.' (Ibid, pg115)

In subsequent chapters and in numerous letters to aspirants, Sri Aurobindo explains how this 'real self' develops inside us from a soul- spark to the 'Psychic Being' that itself is the projection of a Central Being or Jivatman above the manifestation.

Now this 'real self' cannot directly influence our outer being or surface personality. Its influence can only be discernible if another dimension of being – a new dimension of our personality develops. This is another unique contribution of Sri Aurobindo to the world of Psychology. He names it as the 'SUBLIMINAL' or 'INNER' Being that stands behind the outer being. He gives a detailed description of the Subliminal in Book II of the Life Divine  explaining  in details its difference from the Subconscious.

 The Subliminal or 'Inner Being' is connected with the cosmic or universal consciousness. It is through the subliminal that the universal delight in 'the aesthetic reception of things as represented by Art and Poetry' enter to influence our outer being, 'so that we enjoy there the Rasa or taste' of the sap of Creation. That 'Rasa' or 'nectar' of existence does not even exclude the taste of the 'sorrowful, the terrible, even the horrible or repellent'. That is why Shakespeare's tragedies are as important as his comedies, and Kali's wrath can be as beautifully portrayed as Krishna's love. That is why Michael Angelo's David can be beautiful even after killing the demon and the nailed body of Jesus is a source of compassion, not of vengeance. It is interesting to note that the 'sorrowful', the 'terrible', the 'horrible' sensations have been depicted in Indian Art in the famous forms of Karuna, Bhayankara and Bibhatsa Rasas, and these are as important as their opposites.

The 'Subliminal' as a gateway to Universal Delight

 The outer being revolves around the ego and is too 'divided' to receive the impact of the Universal Delight. The subliminal is under the influence of our 'real self' and is not biased by the ego. Hence it can receive the Universal Delight as 'an aesthetic reception', which then percolates into the outer being. This 'percolation' of course depends on the level of development of the outer being – on its finesse and receptivity, on its 'culture' and 'education'.

One must be cautious that the mere aesthetic reception of the Universal Delight in existence through our subliminal does not automatically qualify that the 'Ananda' of Sachchidananda has been perceived. To perceive that 'pure-delight' which is 'supramental and supra-aesthetic', the inner being has to progress considerably, so that its upper realms extend into the 'superconscious'. Indeed, the inner subliminal can extend into the 'superconscious' as well as plunge into the 'subconscious' enroute the 'Inconscience'. 'Certainly, this aesthetic reception of contacts is not a precise image or reflection of the pure delight which is supramental and supra-aesthetic; for the latter would eliminate sorrow, terror, horror and disgust with their cause while the former admits them: but it represents partially and imperfectly one stage of the progressive delight of the universal Soul in things in its manifestation and it admits us in one part of our nature to that detachment from egoistic sensation and that universal attitude through which the one Soul sees harmony and beauty where we divided beings experience rather chaos and discord. The full liberation can come to us only by a similar liberation in all our parts, the universal aesthesis, the universal standpoint of knowledge, the universal detachment from all things and yet sympathy with all in our nervous and emotional being.' (Life Divine, Pg. 119)

 'Ananda' or 'Bliss' supports the entire creation

We have discussed that 'Ananda' or 'Bliss' is the only answer to the 'Why' of existence. But then, this is something that can only be realised at a very high superconscient plane. Does it really support the entire field of creation? Or is it something that exists in isolation at the highest planes of consciousness?

Sri Aurobindo explains that though it is 'realizable' at a very high plane of consciousness, its presence is 'discernible' throughout existence.

'It is the reason of that clinging to existence, that overmastering will-to-be, translated vitally as the instinct of self-preservation, physically as the imperishability of matter, mentally as the sense of immortality which attends the formed existence through all its phases of self-development and of which even the occasional impulse of self-destruction is only a reverse form, an attraction to other state of being and a consequent recoil from present state of being. Delight is existence, Delight is the secret of creation, Delight is the root of Birth, Delight is the cause of remaining in existence, Delight is the end of birth and that into which creation ceases. “From Ananda,” says the Upanishad, “all existences are born, by Ananda they remain in being and increase, to Ananda they depart”.'   (Life Divine, Pg. 111)

 Sri Aurobindo's uniqueness in the description of Ananda?

Traditionally, the 'Ananda' or 'Bliss' poise of Sachchidananda has been experientially perceived at a very high superconscious level. The Bliss could not be brought down to our egoistic life, as it would have been disruptive. That is why our 'heavens' have been located in superconscient spheres, far above ordinary life. Of course, different spiritual paths have 'constructed' their 'heavens' with the different types of superconscient experiences with which they contacted the 'Ananda' poise of Reality. To some, it represented 'Rapture', to some it represented 'love', to some it was 'Peace', to some it represented 'Beauty', to some it represented 'Silence'. Accordingly the 'heavens' have been named in the Indian tradition by different names. Sri Aurobindo explains that wherever the knowledge in man leads him to think it can grasp this bliss, 'it will fix its heaven.' 'This is Swarga, Vaikuntha, Goloka; this is Nirvana' (Essays Divine and Human, Pg. 216).

To Sri Aurobindo, the key word is 'transformation' of our existence so that the 'Superconscient' experiences can manifest in material life. Our heavens have to blossom not in very high realms but in this apparently mundane life. That is why is emphasized the discovering and developing the 'Real Self' within us, which in its nature radiates 'Bliss'. Sri Aurobindo ventures to suggest that if developed, this 'Real Self' can come forward as a fourth dimensional principle and replace the ego. This sounds preposterous but there is a way for that journey. If the ego can really be 'replaced' by the 'Real Self' in ordinary existence, then only the heaven of 'Bliss' can manifest in our earthly life. Of course, this means working on our own selves and developing our 'subliminal' or 'inner being' behind our surface personality. Psychology becomes a gateway to Spirituality. One has to work not only at one's 'heights' of consciences but also at one's 'depths', complementing each other.

'DELIGHT' IN THE UPANISHAD

 

“The name of That is the Delight; as the Delight we must worship and seek after It”

(Kena Upanishad, 1V.6))

This Upanishadic sloka (couplet) describes Brahman in its poise of transcendental Delight. It is the All-Blissful Ananda from which all existences are born, by which all existences live and increases and into which all existences arrive in their passing out of death and birth. This is the 'immortality' of the Upanishads. The soul, which is identified with this Bliss, can be one with the infinite existence and yet in a sense still able to enjoy differentiation in the oneness. In other words, that soul becomes a centre of the divine delight – a fountain of joy and love to which all fellow-creatures can be attracted. (Source: Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Pg. 181)

[However, as explained above, such a soul described in the Upanishad that radiates a fountain of joy is still a soul that realizes Ananda in the superconscient plane of existence and attracts souls who have set out for that 'ascent'. Sri Aurobindo wants a 'descent' of the Ananda or self-existent Delight in ordinary existence – a unique and utopian vision waiting for fulfillment.]


Date of Update: 22-Jun-13   

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu

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