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

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
Chapter XIX - Part 4
Chapter XIX - Part 5
Chapter XIX - Part 6
Chapter XIX - Part 7
Chapter XX - Part 1
Chapter XX - Part 2
Chapter XX - Part 3
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XXI - Part 1
Chapter XXI - Part 2
Chapter XXI - Part 3
Chapter XXI - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 1
Chapter XXII - Part 2
Chapter XXII - Part 3
Chapter XXII - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 5
Chapter XXII - Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 1
Chapter XXIII Part 2
Chapter XXIII Part 3
Chapter XXIII Part 4
Chapter XXIII Part 5
Chapter XXIII Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 7
Chapter XXIV Part 1
Chapter XXIV Part 2
Chapter XXIV Part 3
Chapter XXIV Part 4
Chapter XXIV Part 5
Chapter XXV Part 1
Chapter XXV Part 2
Chapter XXV Part 3
Chapter XXVI Part 1
Chapter XXVI Part 2
Chapter XXVI Part 3
Chapter XXVII Part 1
Chapter XXVII Part 2
Chapter XXVII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 1
Chapter XXVIII Part 2
Chapter XXVIII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 4
Chapter XXVIII Part 5
Chapter XXVIII Part 6
Chapter XXVIII Part 7
Chapter XXVIII Part 8
Book II, Chapter 1, Part I
Book II, Chapter 1, Part II
Book II, Chapter 1, Part III
Book II, Chapter 1, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 1, Part V
Book II, Chapter 2, Part I
Book II, Chapter 2, Part II
Book II, Chapter 2, Part III
Book II, Chapter 2, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 2, Part V
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VI
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VII
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VIII
Book II, Chapter 3, Part I
Book II, Chapter 3, Part II
Book II, Chapter 3, Part III
Book II, Chapter 3, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 3, Part V
Book II, Chapter 4, Part I
Book II, Chapter 4, Part II
Book II, Chapter 4, Part III
Book II, Chapter 5, Part I
Book II, Chapter 5, Part II
Book II, Chapter 5, Part III
Book II, Chapter 6, Part I
Book II, Chapter 6, Part II
Book II, Chapter 6, Part III
Book II, Chapter 7, Part I
Book II, Chapter 7, Part II
Book II, Chapter 8, Part I
Book II, Chapter 8, Part II
Book II, Chapter 9, Part I
Book II, Chapter 9, Part II
Book II, Chapter 10, Part I
Book II, Chapter 10, Part II
Book II, Chapter 10, Part III

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Book II, Chapter 10, Part II

Book II

The Knowledge and the Ignorance-The Spiritual Evolution

Chapter 10

Knowledge by Identity and Separative Knowledge

Part II

The Vital Ego

Our being is a complex architecture and we can introspect only parts of it , that too by limited self-knowledge and complicated by a self-deception by being disfigured by our vital being. "For our vital being is not concerned with self-knowledge but with self-affirmation, desire, ego". (SABCL 18, pg.532) The vital intervention is not only concerned with self-justification but equally towards "self-depreciation and a morbid and exaggerated self-criticism". (Ibid, pg.533) Sri Aurobindo adds, "For in this vital ego there is frequently a mixture of the charlatan and mountebank, the poser and actor; it is constantly taking up a role and playing it to itself and to others as its public. An organised self-deception is thus added to an organised self-ignorance". We can have a clearer picture of our being when we can go into the depths of our being.

The larger inner or subliminal being

There is a larger inner being behind our outer being which is studied as personality in psychology. This inner or subliminal being is wider in scope and is connected with the cosmic or universal consciousness and supplies the operative energies that build our surface personality. We have the inner mental being that secretly thinks and conceives, the inner vital being that secretly feels and acts on life and the inner physical being (also known as the subtle-physical being) that secretly receives and responds to the contact of things. The surface being presents an intermingling of the planes of consciousness and it is only in the inner being that the planes can be separated and present with distinct characteristics. The discordance in the outer being can be traced to the "discord of many different inner possibilities of our being and even of different personalities on each level in us which are behind the intermixed disposition and different tendencies of our surface nature." (

We can overcome the discordance of the planes of consciousness as we move from the outer being to the inner or subliminal being. In the inner being the planes of consciousness are easily demarcated and then can be harmonized either by the Manomaya Purusha (the true mental being) or by the Chaitya Purusha (the central psychic entity) but we must have the right mental will and the psychic will. Or else we might enter the inner being with the vital-ego motive which might lead to "an exaggeration of ego, self-affirmation and desire, an enlarged and more powerful ignorance instead of an enlarged and more powerful knowledge." (Ibid, pg.534)

The entry into the inner being helps us to distinguish what comes from within from what comes from outside, from universal Nature, thus enabling us to exercise a choice and a control. This helps us in the faculty of harmonization that is not possible in the outer being. Life can be more luminously organized at the inner being.

While the outer being has a half-blinded knowledge, the inner being has a greater clarity of consciousness and a better arrangement of the elements of knowledge. What is a vague sense of our self-existence and the partial identification with our inner movements at the level of the outer being can deepen in the inner being into "a clear and direct intrinsic awareness of the whole entity within....the whole self-expression of the Purusha on the present levels of our nature. But also there is or can be along with this intimacy of knowledge a detached observation of the actions of the nature by the Purusha and a great possibility, through this double status of knowledge, of a complete control and understanding". (Ibid, pg.534-535)

The Subliminal - A movement of Knowledge-Ignorance

We can see the movements of our surface being, our mistakes and self-delusions from our inner or subliminal being with a clear vision and with a complete detachment and a direct sight. If the psychic and mental parts are stronger than the vital, the vital and even the body can be taken over by the inner mental will as instruments of the soul. Whereas if the mental and psychic parts are weak and the vital strong, power is increased by entry into the inner vital but the vision is deficient and the knowledge even if increased in scope can remain "turbid and misleading", liable to "misguided egoistic action". (Ibid, pg.535) "For the subliminal is still a movement of the Knowledge-Ignorance; it has in it a greater knowledge, but also of a greater because more self-affirming ignorance. This is because, though an increased self-knowledge is normal here, it is not at once an integral knowledge: an awareness by direct contact, which is the principal power of the subliminal, is not sufficient for that; for it may be contact with greater becomings and powers of Knowledge, but also with greater becomings and powers of the Ignorance." (Ibid)

Extra-Sensory Perception

The surface mind is restricted to the interpretation of material sent by the senses aided by the mental and vital intuition and the reason. The subliminal or inner being is not bound by this restriction. It is connected with the universal consciousness and has inner or subliminal senses that bring information from other planes of consciousness than the physical consciousness. "This inner sense can create or present images, scenes, sounds that are symbolic rather than actual or that represent possibilities in formation, suggestions, thoughts, ideas, intentions of other beings, image-forms also of powers or potentialities in universal Nature; there is nothing that it cannot image or visualize or turn into sensory formations." (Ibid, pg.536) The subliminal or inner being is responsible for extra-sensory perception - for telepathy, clairvoyance, second sight and other supernormal activities. (Ibid) This happens due to openings or rifts in the wall between the individualized outer being and the universalized inner (subliminal) being. This rich complexity can be misinterpreted by the outer mind as the secrets of operation are unknown to it and a greater power of intuition and intuitive discrimination is needed to evaluate the inner being's experiences. But they add immensely to increase our scope of knowledge.

What is important is that the subliminal or inner being can directly come into contact with other consciousness or objects by a direct mental vision or by a direct feeling of things. It can come into "an immediate, intimate and accurate spontaneous knowledge of persons, of objects, of the occult and to us intangible energies of world-Nature". (Ibid, pg.536-537) Actually, rarely do we have awareness of objects or happenings without any sense-intervention but such capacities are rudimentary and vague. These emergent operations of the subliminal are fragmentarily studied under the name of psychic phenomena, but they have nothing to do with the psyche or soul. They are related to the inner mind, inner vital and inner or subtle physical. But the results of such enquiry are usually inconclusive since they are dealt with the outer mind. If we can open up the wall between the inner being and the outer being, we can freely understand their mechanism and increase our realm of knowledge.

Knowing others

We cannot know directly other human beings even if they are of our own kind and our surface evaluations often turn out to be erroneous. We live as strangers tied by a partial sympathy and mutual experience and we do not know enough of even those closest to us. "But in the subliminal inner consciousness it is possible to become directly aware of the thoughts and feelings around us, to feel their impact, to see their movements; to read a mind and a heart becomes less difficult, a less uncertain venture". (Ibid, pg.538) There is a constant interchange at the mental, vital and subtle-physical level between all who meet or live together but they are ordinarily unaware of this subtle interchange. If we can grow conscious in our subliminal parts we need not persist as involuntary subjects but can accept or reject justifiably all interaction. We can be able also to consciously help others, have "a luminous interchange and a fruitful accommodation", no longer burdened by "mutual misinterpretation and error". (Ibid)

The soul-personality

It is not only human interactions that we are involved with, we are equally involved with the impersonal forces of the world that are around us. We are usually aware of the physical world-forces around us but we live constantly among unseen mind-forces and life-forces of which we know nothing. The subliminal or inner being can open our awareness by a direct contact and by inner vision. The inner being can not only contact directly the universal forces but can also overcome the time-barrier and have the sense or vibration of future events. This knowledge proper to the subliminal being is not complete for it is still a mixture of knowledge and ignorance "and it is capable of erroneous as well as of true perception, since it works not by knowledge by identity, but by a knowledge through direct contact and this is also a separative knowledge, though more intimate even in separation than anything that is commanded by our surface nature". (Ibid, pg.539) But this can be cured by going to the psychic being or psychic entity behind which supports our individual life and body. "There is indeed a soul-personality...within us, which puts forward a fine psychic element in our natural being: but this finer factor in our normal make-up is not yet dominant and has only a limited action. Our soul is not the overt guide and master of our thoughts and acts; it has to rely on the mental, vital, physical instruments for self-expression and is constantly overpowered by our mind and life-force: but if once it can succeed in remaining in constant communion with its own larger occult reality, -- and this can only happen when we go deep into our subliminal parts, -- it is no longer dependent , it can become powerful and sovereign...distinguishes the divine and the undivine in the manifestation and so can be the luminous leader of our other parts of nature." (bid, pg.539-540)

A pre-existent Knowledge

The main character of subliminal cognition is "a knowledge by the direct contact of consciousness with its object or of consciousness with other consciousness; but in the end we discover that this power is an outcome of a secret knowledge by identity, a translation of it into a separative awareness of things". (Ibid, pg.540) Usually, in the surface cognition, a friction of the living being with the object outside awakens the spark of conscious knowledge. In the subliminal cognition, some sort of contact is active too that sparks off a pre-existent knowledge to bring it to the surface. But while the pre-existent knowledge comes as an acquired knowledge in the surface cognition, it arises in subliminal cognition as a thing seen, remembered when it is fully intuitive. "For consciousness is one in the subject and the object, and in the contact of existence with existence this identity brings to light or awakens in the self the dormant knowledge of this other self outside it". (ibid)

Our surface cognition depends on the senses but the gateway of sense is inoperative between itself and the inner being. It can verify the external object but cannot see what is inside its deeper self. Thus all our mental knowledge is an objective impression imposed from outside. A true inner knowledge of an object comes from the depths of our being. But there are two veils in us

(a) The veil between our inner self and ignorant surface self; and

(b) The veil between the surface self and the object contacted. (Ibid, pg.541)

Therefore only an imperfect figure or representation of the inner knowledge is available on the surface.

The Universal Individual

The inner or subliminal being can break the bounds of individuality and enter the cosmic consciousness. The subliminal is separated from the cosmic or universal consciousness by subtler sheaths -sheaths of the inner mind, inner vital and subtle physical just like the outer being is separated from universal Nature by the body but these subtle sheaths have a transparency and presents as less a wall than a fence. The subliminal also projects a circumconscient consciousness as an environing part of oneself "through which it receives the contacts of the world and can become aware of them and deal with them before they enter." (Ibid, pg.541) The circumconscient envelope can extend and widen indefinitely, enlarging its self-projection into the cosmic consciousness. At a certain optimal point, the subliminal can break through the separation totally and identify with the cosmic being and feel itself universal and one with all existence. "In this freedom of entry into cosmic self and cosmic nature there is a great liberation of the individual being; it puts on a cosmic consciousness, becomes the universal individual". (Ibid, pg.541-542) This union may bring the disappearance of the sense of individuality and a merger of the ego into the world-being. There can be results of lesser amplitude with a great openness of mind to the cosmic Mind, cosmic Life and Cosmic Matter and their energies. A certain sense of unity of the individual with the cosmos becomes constant and a greater feeling of unity with other beings becomes possible. "It is then that the existence of the cosmic Being becomes a certitude and a reality and is no longer an ideative perception". (Ibid, pg.542)

Date of Update: 28-May-24

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu


© 2024 IIYP  |  Contact