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Integral Health

The metaphysical basis for Integral Health — Consciousness-Force: implications in psychology and healing

Dr. Soumitra Basu

It is difficult to describe the Absolute as its experiential realisation in Transcendence surpasses our usual cognitive grasp. When the experience was sought to be conveyed to the world, Indian yogis used the famous term Sachchidananda — a triune of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss — to describe the nature of Reality. It is important to note that the three terms are not additive; they are different poises of the same Reality and form a complex triune. As ‘Existence’, Reality is present as the inmost essence of everything and in this poise is known as the Self. As ‘Bliss’, Reality carries within itself the intrinsic and motiveless joy of self-expression, self-manifestation and self-creation.

Sri Aurobindo modified the descriptive usage of Sachchidananda by substituting the term ‘Consciousness’ by ‘Consciousness-Force’ or Chit-Shakti. As Consciousness-Force, Reality is impregnated with and expressive of meaning and purpose at all levels. As a result, it is Consciousness-Force that builds the worlds. Sri Aurobindo explains that to build the worlds, Consciousness must carry the vision of what needs to be created along with the Energy or Force or Shakti needed to translate that vision in effectual terms. Consciousness must be simultaneously implicit with programmed energy or Shakti (Force) so as to be effective and dynamic, or else it would remain stationary, immobile and hence ineffective. “Consciousness is made up of two elements, awareness of self and things and forces and conscious-power. Awareness is the first thing necessary, you have to be aware of things in the right consciousness, in the right way, seeing them in their truth; but awareness by itself is not enough. There must be a Will and a force that makes the consciousness effective (1).”

When the fiat for creation is decreed, it is Consciousness-Force that builds the worlds. It becomes discernible as nuclear energy in matter, life-energy in the vital, intelligent-will in the mind and as supra-rational powers like intuition at supra-cognitive matrices. Thus every plane of consciousness has an intrinsically poised energy-base supporting it.

At the level of the Transcendent Sachchidananda, Consciousness and Force are inextricably one as Chit-Shakti and cannot be differentiated. At the level of matter, consciousness is apparently unintelligible but automatically and intrinsically impregnated with energy so that electrons rotate with precision in the atom and the planetary movements do not betray our space-scientists. It is only at the level of the mind that consciousness gets de-linked from energy producing a remarkable dichotomy.

Implications in psychology

At the level of the Transcendent Sachchidananda, Consciousness and Force are inseparably one in essence, and this unitary experience overwhelms and transmutes the mystic’s psyche, unravelling a new meaning of Reality. At the level of matter, consciousness and energy are intertwined with each other so that the scientist can come out with precise calculations getting credits and laurels which are actually due to Chit-Shakti (Consciousness-Force) itself. At the level of the mind, Consciousness and energy are de-linked creating the enormous dichotomy between Knowledge and Will. This dichotomy is the main cause of disharmony in the world as we live it and is explicit at every phase of individual and collective life. The wise person may be too theoretical to effectuate ideas and the energetic person may not be backed with appropriate knowledge. A strong dictator may not be a visionary and a knowledgeable economist may lack the power of implementing his own theories. In the sphere of personal growth, the aspirant often lacks will-power to hold on to one’s eulogised ideal. Or else, one may be dogmatic about one’s own world-view that would be of no relevance to the world at large. In the sphere of health, knowledge of a disease may not be correlated with the motivation to get well. In contrast, the instinct in the animal allows a precise working, though in a limited sphere, of a pre-programmed knowledge resulting in the flawless design of the ant-hill or bee-hive. In the human being, Knowledge and Will are de-linked and have to be progressively synthesised through a graded discipline in consciousness and through the unfolding of supra-rational powers like intuition resulting in an ever-expanding Knowledge that is spontaneously effective and an ever-strengthening Will that is intrinsically luminous. It is only then that we can hope for a perfected human life and a perfected collectivity.

Sri Aurobindo explains the implications of Consciousness-Force in life: “Somebody may have the full consciousness of what has to be changed, what has to go and what has to come in its place, but may be helpless to make the change. Another may have the will-force, but for want of a right awareness may be unable to apply it in the right way at the right place. The advantage of being in the true consciousness is that you have the right awareness and its will being in harmony with the Mother’s will, you can call in the Mother’s Force to make the change. Those who live in the mind and the vital are not so well able to do this; they are obliged to use mostly their personal effort and as the awareness and will and force of the mind and vital are divided and imperfect, the work done is imperfect and not definitive. It is only in the supermind that Awareness, Will, Force are always one movement and automatically effective (2).”

Implications in healing

The concept of Consciousness-Force (Chit-Shakti) automatically signifies that each plane of consciousness is intrinsically supported by an energy-base. Healing to be effective must act at the energy-base coeval with the particular plane of consciousness which is the target area of operation of each type of healing technique. Modern medicine or allopathy acts at the energy-base of the physical plane of consciousness. Subtle remedies like homoeopathy and flower remedies act at the energy-base of the vital plane. Physiotherapy and biofeedback act at the level of the energy-base of the physical mind which is that part of the mind that is enmeshed in sensory schemata. Many types of psychotherapy act at the energy-base of the vital mind which is that part of the mind that deals with emotions, passions, ambitions and dynamism. The energy-fields underlying the subtle senses provide the matrix for the action of hypnotherapy. However behind the energy-bases that underlie the planes of consciousness in the outer being (known as personality in modern parlance), there is a deeper energy sub-serving the inner or subliminal being which is the domain of yoga psychology. This deeper energy or Prāṇic Shakti is in contact with the universal energy in the cosmic consciousness and naturally with the healing energies in the cosmic consciousness. If tapped and activated in the right way, the Prāṇic Shakti can be used to heal anyone or even one’s own self (3).

Integral Health posits that one can initiate healing with any technique at any of the energy-bases in the outer being but the quintessence of healing lies in the ability to reach the inner being and have access to the Prāṇic Shakti supporting the inner or subliminal consciousness. This results not only in the correction of disharmony of consciousness that is the basis of any illness but also simultaneously allows one to proceed to a higher harmony making even illness an opportunity to trigger progress. It demonstrates how the Consciousness-Force can be cultivated and worked through to give a powerful leverage not only to health and healing but also to personal growth.


1. Sri Aurobindo.Birth Centenary Library, Volume 22. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1970, p. 238.

2. Ibid.

3. Basu S. Integral Health. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: SAIIIHR; 2011, pp. 88.

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Indian yogis



Sri Aurobindo