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Consciousness and health

The Path and the Goals

Dr. Alok Pandey


Yoga is not a set of static or dynamic exercises but a journey through the inner landscapes. It is a new and unprecedented venture, the greatest of all adventures. Since the journey starts in ignorance hence one needs help in the inner transformative process. This article discusses some of the aids on the path.

The trackless Path beyond the paths

“It is said in the ‘Sanatsujatīya’ that four things are necessary for siddhi — śāstra, utsāha, guru and kāla — the teaching of the path, zeal in following it, the Guru and time. Your path is that which I am pointing out, the utsāha needed is this anumati and this nityasmaraṇa, the Guru is God himself and for the rest only time is needed. That God himself is the Guru, you will find when knowledge comes to you; you will see how every little circumstance within you and without you has been subtly planned and brought about by infinite wisdom to carry out the natural process of the yoga, how the internal and external movements are arranged and brought together to work on each other, so as to work out the imperfection and work in the perfection. An almighty love and wisdom are at work for your uplifting. Therefore never be troubled by the time that is being taken, even if it seems very long, but when imperfections and obstructions arise, be apramatta, dhīra, have the utsāha, and leave God to do the rest. Time is necessary. It is a tremendous work that is being done in you, the alteration of your whole human nature into a divine nature, the crowding of centuries of evolution into a few years. You ought not to grudge the time. There are other paths that offer more immediate results or at any rate, by offering you some definite kriyā you can work at yourself, give your ahaṅkāra the satisfaction of feeling that you are doing something, so many more prāṇāyamas today, so much longer a time for the āsana, so many more repetitions of the japa, so much done, so much definite progress marked. But once you have chosen this path, you must cleave to it. Those are human methods, not the way that the infinite Śakti works, which moves silently, sometimes imperceptibly to its goal, advances here, seems to pause there, then mightily and triumphantly reveals the grandiose thing that it has done. Artificial paths are like canals hewn by the intelligence of man; you travel easily, safely, surely, but from one given place to another. This path is the broad and trackless ocean by which you can travel widely to all parts of the world and are admitted to the freedom of the infinite. All that you need are the ship, the steering-wheel, the compass, the motive-power and a skilful captain. Your ship is the Brahmavidya, faith is your steering-wheel, self-surrender your compass, the motive-power is she who makes, directs and destroys the worlds at God’s command and God himself is your captain. But he has his own way of working and his own time for everything. Watch his way and wait for his time (1).”

Essentially then, one can gain from the Master only to the extent one is open and receptive to His Influence. Here again, we see that there is no standard mathematical formula of progress, no fixed law that determines the same end-result for everyone, just because the Master and the Path are the same. The real formula of progress lies in the faith and the will of man. As is our faith so does the Divine receive, respond and reveal Himself to us. So too, if the will to go through to the end persists and one is ready to persevere, regardless of challenges, difficulties and obstacles, then one can be sure of arriving.

And yet, there is that incalculable factor of Grace that overrides everything. Even when one does not recognise the presence of Grace, it is still there working from behind to help us move. In the integral Yoga, which is at once the most difficult and the most comprehensive Path, the mainstay of the practice is an opening and surrender, an entire reliance and dependence upon the Divine Mother’s Grace. The quintessence of Integral Yoga, the key to the Supramental transformation is best described at the close of the book, The Mother, which may well be considered as the mūlmantra of the Yoga.

“The supramental change is a thing decreed and inevitable in the evolution of the earth-consciousness; for its upward ascent is not ended and mind is not its last summit. But that the change may arrive, take form and endure, there is needed the call from below with a will to recognise and not deny the Light when it comes, and there is needed the sanction of the Supreme from above. The power that mediates between the sanction and the call is the presence and power of the Divine Mother. The Mother’s power and not any human endeavour and tapasya can alone rend the lid and tear the covering and shape the vessel and bring down into this world of obscurity and falsehood and death and suffering, Truth and Light and Life Divine and the immortal’s Ananda (2).”

Finally, we come to the third important element of the Yoga which, in a way, is the matrix in which the Yoga unfolds. It is what we term as Nature. In fact, Nature is everywhere just as the Divine is everywhere and in everything. Though universal, each individual is like a differentiating point that makes a particular selection out of the universal nature, creating a unique constitution that has both beneficial and harmful materials, forces and movements that help or hinder, accelerate or retard the advance. That is why no two journeys of Yoga are alike and hence there cannot be one single, standardised guidance, that would be equally applicable to each and every individual, for all times. Yoga takes place in real-time. As in life so too in Yoga, the journey moves through several unpredictable elements. Yet the unpredictability of the journey and the difficulty of the path, means neither an uncertainty of the eventual arrival nor the impossibility of walking through. What is needed is the dual action of certain powers below and above. Sri Aurobindo reveals here beautifully:

“To walk through life armoured against all fear, peril and disaster, only two things are needed, two that go always together — the Grace of the Divine Mother and on your side an inner state made up of faith, sincerity and surrender (3).”

It is this background that has to be kept in mind, as one is engaged in various practices whose details can be found in the various scriptures. Surely, sincerity in the practice counts, but what counts even more is the sincerity of the aspiration. The guidance of the Guru or the Divine is the power that carries us through the turbulent storms and whirlpools of life towards the safe shores of Peace and Vastness and Light, but what opens us to receive the Divine Help is faith in the leading and the eventual destiny through all the stumbles of the passage. The past preparation of our nature no doubt can be helpful, but what ultimately assures the spiritual destiny is the hand of Grace and the heart of Love that are always there behind the seeker, with the aspirant even when unseen due to the apparent darkness. To put it in a more modern language, the contract of Yoga is between the human soul and the Divine and it is based on the eternal promise of the Divine to every struggling soul, when it is plunged into the great adventure of consciousness and joy. The Divine has not forgotten his promise and not only keeps leading man, even when man is misleading himself but also descends upon earth from time to time to lead from the front. It is now our turn to do what we need to do from our side according to the clause of the contract. The clause of course is very simple and beautifully summed up in the Gītā.

“My Yoga will deliver you from the great fear and even a little of it will bring deliverance. When you have once set out on this path, you will find that no step is lost; every least movement will be a gain; you will find there no obstacle that can baulk you of your advance. A bold and absolute promise and one to which the fearful and hesitating mind beset and stumbling in all its paths cannot easily lend an assured trust; nor is the large and full truth of it apparent unless with these first words of the message of the Gītā we read also the last, ‘Abandon all laws of conduct and take refuge in Me alone; I will deliver you from all sin and evil; do not grieve (4).’”

The two modes of Yoga

“No synthesis of Yoga can be satisfying which does not, in its aim, reunite God and Nature in a liberated and perfected human life or, in its method, not only permit but favour the harmony of our inner and outer activities and experiences in the divine consummation of both. For man is precisely that term and symbol of a higher Existence descended into the material world in which it is possible for the lower to transfigure itself and put on the nature of the higher and the higher to reveal itself in the forms of the lower. To avoid the life which is given him for the realisation of that possibility, can never be either the indispensable condition or the whole and ultimate object of his supreme endeavour or of his most powerful means of self-fulfilment. It can only be a temporary necessity under certain conditions or a specialised extreme effort imposed on the individual so as to prepare a greater general possibility for the race. The true and full object and utility of Yoga can only be accomplished when the conscious Yoga in man becomes, like the subconscious Yoga in Nature, outwardly conterminous with life itself and we can once more, looking out both on the path and the achievement, say in a more perfect and luminous sense: ‘All life is Yoga (5).’”

Yoga takes place in two modes, consciously or unconsciously. Subconscious yoga is when the seeking for something higher and truer, something permanent, something perfect that can give us lasting peace and joy, is vaguely there. Nor does one know how to find what one wants. One is in the darkness of ignorance, so to speak. Hence one gropes for whatever handle or lever one finds or starts taking whatever road one sees in front that is apparently promising us the hoped-for, longed-for Paradise. In ordinary life, since we are hardly conscious of anything else than what the senses reveal and the desires push us to acquire, we start looking for objects to satisfy our desires ignorantly believing that it is this that will fulfil our seeking. But after repeated frustrations, possibly through a number of lives, as Indic spiritual thought reveals, we eventually start looking elsewhere and search for other roads. We begin to analyse and discern the real as opposed to apparent causes of our suffering, begin to seek something that can last and endure, something that can be permanent.

Thus, some kind of clarity grows and from behind the veil of ignorance, sense attachments, desires something truer and deeper begins to emerge. It is then that we begin to look beyond the limits of our humanness and seek for a greater Light and Truth. We may call it God, or by whatever name or no name. We can be drawn towards this something truer and greater and vaster through this form or that form or even call it Formless. We may believe It is a Being of infinite divine qualities or a state of consciousness without any qualities or both at once. As is our basic belief so is our first contact with this Reality that transcends both our senses and our mind. The Divine is One but being infinite, He or She or It or That, or very simply the true Self, the Self of self has infinite facets, infinite aspects, even infinite moods and ways of working. But since human beings are limited and finite they come in contact with just one or few aspects of the Divine.

Thus, even though the fundamental experience of the contact with the Divine Reality is identical everywhere yet it takes so many shades and expresses it in so many ways, blossoms and develops in so many diverse directions. It is this variety that has led to the great divergence in beliefs about the Divine, in the evolution of so many ways and paths and techniques and processes and methods which is only natural and inevitable. Sanātana Dharma, recognising this inherent unity and complexity, has always accepted and accommodated this diversity of cults and sects and religious beliefs and approaches. On the other hand, there are extremely narrow and rigid cults that remain stuck in a single formula or a single approach and a single book. It is this extreme exclusivity that has turned religion from a book to a bane as indeed all things, whether ideological or scientific when followed passionately and in an exclusive dogmatic, one-sided manner, lead to.

It may be necessary to point out here that the dogmatic assertions of a materialistic Science, illegitimately applying itself in every field, almost with an evangelist fervour to convert all others into its fold has done as much harm to the expansion of man’s soul or the human spirit as religions with fixed beliefs have. One traps them in the cage of matter, the other holds it captive in the prison of the mind. One locks the prison with doubt and scepticism guarded by the sentry Reason and the bars of senses that can hardly notice all that enters and leaves, trying to capture truth in its limited formulas. Perhaps it gets the body but the soul escapes, a dead corpse dissected by its scalpel of analytical reason it’s only gain. The other locks the prison with fear, guarded by the sentries of reward and punishment and the bars of belief, while keeping out the truth of things. It tries to bind Truth by chains of formulas and perhaps gets a hurried glimpse of the garment while the Person escapes its eyes. Both miss the essence and hold the dried flower in their hands, — one admiring its petals, the other counting them. 

The roads and degrees of freedom

But Yoga is utter freedom. It is also the royal road to Truth in all its complexity and completeness. It is a science in its own right as it teaches us the various ways. Yet, like all sciences and arts, it has also evolved with man and is continuing to evolve until the yoga of man becomes one with the Yoga of the Divine. The Yoga of the Divine is to manifest the Divine Perfection upon earth. Man’s yoga too will arrive at its perfect fullness when he unites the earth with the Divine in a perfect and harmonious oneness. This will be the perfect remedy of all our ills, not a palliative or even a preventive, but transformative, with no further possibility of suffering and evil, illness and grief and sorrow and pain. Meanwhile, Yoga itself is evolving even as it helps man to evolve. In other words, there is a Yoga most suited to each evolutionary stage arranging themselves in a hierarchical system.

“The evolution of man has been upwards from the body to the spirit, and there are three stages in his progress. He bases himself upon body, rises through soul and culminates in spirit. And to each stage of his evolution belong certain kinds of sādhanā, a particular type of Yoga, a characteristic fulfilment. There has been no eon in man’s history, no kalpa, to use the Indian term, in which the Yoga was withheld from man or fulfilment denied to him. But the fulfilment corresponded to his stage of progress, and the Yoga corresponded to the fulfilment. In his earlier development, he was realising himself in the body and the divinity of the body was his fulfilment. He is now realising himself in the heart and mind, and the divinity of the heart and mind will be his culmination. Eventually, he will realise himself in the spirit and the divinity of his true spiritual self will round off his history….

“Man fulfilling himself in the body is given Hathayoga as his means. When he rises above the body, he abandons Hathayoga as a troublesome and inferior process and rises to the Rajayoga, the discipline peculiar to the aeon in which man now evolves.The first condition of success in Rajayoga is to rise superior to the dehatmak bodh, the state of perception in which the body is identified with the self. A time comes to the Rajayogin when his body seems not to belong to him or he to have any concern with it. He is not troubled by its troubles or gladdened by its pleasures; it has them to itself and very soon, because he does not give his sanction to them, they fall away from it. His own troubles and pleasures are in the heart and mind, for he is the rajasic and psychical man, not the tamasic material. It is these that he has to conquer in order that he may realise God in his heart or in his buddhi or in both. God seen in the heart, that is the quest of the Rajayogin. He may recover the perception and enjoyment of the body afterwards, but it is only to help the enjoyment of God as Love and God as Knowledge (6)”

The Haṭhayoga, that seems to be the oldest kind of practice, seems to be the product of an age when the physical man or rather humanity was largely centred around the body and the vital physical nature. It was closer to the animal kind and knew the body to be the self. Hence the elaborate practices to release the consciousness trapped in the material case. The Haṭhayoga brought out unusual potential latent in the body and, by going deeper within the body and its vital, nervous energy body sought for its secret soul. The results were astounding as far as the body is concerned but the process was too cumbersome and instead of finding the soul they ended up discovering the physical puruṣa, the self of the body. This type of Yoga has always been a favourite to the early forms of a Rākṣasic and animal humanity, whose seat is largely in the vital. In the modern version of the Haṭhayoga, the strenuous āsanas are rarely practised. It has been reduced to exercises for physical health and through the practice of prāṇāyama, an increase in the vital energy and the smooth flow of prāṇic energies through the human system.

As man evolves further and becomes aware of his mental world, then we see the emergence of Rājayoga, which is mainly focused on the control of and control by the mind. Rājayoga mainly arrives largely at mind-control and, through that, unleashes the full possibilities of the mind. It is through the mind it seeks to discover the secret soul and ends up discovering the mental Witness Puruṣa. Rājayoga does augment mind capacities and adds new ones, which is why it is the favourite of the Āsuric type whose seat is largely in the mind. It may be noted that the way we look at these terms today in a rather judgmental and often pejorative sense is not how the pragmatic and soberer ancient thought of India looked at it. Instead of the over-simplified binaries of good and bad, Yoga looks at humanity not as something fixed forever, but along a graded evolutionary scale. Yoga takes its stand on the possibility of evolution and hence accepts that human beings can change. But unlike the Behaviourists, Yoga looks for the inner springs and secret keys that Nature has ‘carelessly’ dropped or ‘carefully’ hidden. It is by handling these inner and occult springs of our actions that Yoga proposes to change human nature, including our character and personality. This is different from manipulating behaviour through the process of conditioning and other such means as reward and punishment. These outer means change the surfaces and the change lasts by force of habit and not as an authentic inner shift. Given an opportunity the surface behavioural change breaks down easily. On the other hand, the change of patterns brought about by the Yoga shows up last on the surface but endures once it is established in the outer nature.

As man evolved and started exploring the different dimensions of his subjective self, he discovered three main keys within him. These keys, though blunted through wrong use could, if potentiated and rightly used, open still deeper inner doors upon the deepest Reality that we carry within us. These three keys are will, emotion and thought. Normally, these keys are used to open outer locks for limited gains. Will is used to satisfy desires and ambitions. Emotions are used for joys of relationships and the sense of belonging that attachment provides giving a feeling of security. Thought is used to understand and gain knowledge generally of a pragmatic nature so that one can deal better with the world and the challenges of life. However, these three keys can be potentiated by concentrating their energy upon a single object or subject. Will turning towards service of the Divine Master who governs all works and existence, emotion turning towards love and adoration of the Divine in a manifold relationship, thought turning towards a deeper and comprehensive understanding of Truth and the Creator, the Source and Origin of all things, become powerful levers for entering into Yoga. This method of turning our entire subjective being into a means of the divine discovery is the triple path as enunciated in the Gītā, though sometimes it is used as three separate streams, as if different paths of Yoga, namely karma, bhakti, jñāna. But just as we cannot split the human consciousness into different sections except for the convenience of understanding (they are always interlocked and interconnected), so too the three paths are in reality one Path. It is only by varying the degree of stress that they become three. 

Haṭhayoga leads to body-control and to a certain extent control of the life-force, leading to the discovery of the Self in the body and life-energy, annamaya and prāṇamaya Puruṣa. Rājayoga leads to discovery of the Self in the Mind, the Manomaya Puruṣa. This triple path leads to the discovery of the Spiritual Self. That is why it is sometimes called as the adhyātma Yoga. Any of these different paths can take a leap from where they take us, into the utter Unity of God where all paths would eventually converge if the soul is not satisfied with the partial gains and the lure of this worldly and other worldly powers. In fact, such a lure that takes the form of a spiritual ambition may well lead even to a precipitous fall whence the lesson of humility is learnt and the soul rises again to the point from where it fell and goes further. For once the journey has begun, the spiritual destiny is certain. It may be delayed but never thwarted for good. Due to this risk of falling, most Vedantic yogas shun it or try to stay away from it as long as and as much as possible. Hence they learn upon the Divine as the Silent Witness Puruṣa or the Iśvara who draws the human soul upwards as a magnet helping us when we need. But then these schools of yoga leave much of the dynamic world-play in the hands of a seemingly incurable darkness, seeking a solitary escape from an incurable darkness. They understand Puruṣa but not Prakṛti. They turn to the Iśvara but leave His Śakti labouring in the world to Her mysterious ways directed towards mysterious ends in the mysterious play of Creation.

The Supreme Consummation

“We have in this central Tantric conception one side of the truth, the worship of the Energy, the Shakti, as the sole effective force for all attainment. We get the other extreme in the Vedantic conception of the Shakti as a power of Illusion and in the search after the silent inactive Purusha as the means of liberation from the deceptions created by the active Energy. But in the integral conception the Conscious Soul is the Lord, the Nature-Soul is his executive Energy. Purusha is of the nature of Sat, the being of conscious self-existence pure and infinite; Shakti or Prakriti is of the nature of Chit, — it is power of the Purusha's self-conscious existence, pure and infinite. The relation of the two exists between the poles of rest and action. When the Energy is absorbed in the bliss of conscious self-existence, there is rest; when the Purusha pours itself out in the action of its Energy, there is action, creation and the enjoyment or Ananda of becoming. But if Ananda is the creator and begetter of all becoming, its method is Tapas or force of the Purusha’s consciousness dwelling upon its own infinite potentiality in existence and producing from it truths of conception or real Ideas, vijñāna, which, proceeding from an omniscient and omnipotent Self-existence, have the surety of their own fulfilment and contain in themselves the nature and law of their own becoming in the terms of mind, life and matter. The eventual omnipotence of Tapas and the infallible fulfilment of the Idea are the very foundation of all Yoga. In man we render these terms by Will and Faith, — a will that is eventually self-effective because it is of the substance of Knowledge and a faith that is the reflex in the lower consciousness of a Truth or real Idea yet unrealised in the manifestation. It is this self-certainty of the Idea which is meant by the Gita when it says, yo yac-chraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ., ‘whatever is a man’s faith or the sure Idea in him, that he becomes (7)’”

It is here that Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga steps in. It admits the Witness Puruṣa, the Silent Brahman and the Omniscient, omnipresent Iśvara but does not leave the world-play in the hands of a mechanical Prakṛti and the impulsion of past karmas. Instead, it seeks to bring a change in the world-play itself, alter the balance of world forces in favour of a divine manifestation. For this, there is the insistence upon handing over the reins of the play to the hands of the Divine Mother, surrendering to Her who is the Divine Śakti, the original infinite Power that has created finite worlds and beings through Her Divine Maya, the power that builds forms for the Iśvara to inhabit. Having built the forms, She energises them, setting them into fixed grooves of motion to keep each form and each creature in its allotted place. This most outward action of the Divine Power that binds and fixes all things and their movements in fixed grooves of habitual cause and effect is what we call as Prakṛti or Nature. But Prakṛti too in its depths receives the impulsion from the One Divine Power, Śakti, the Divine Mother, whose Wisdom and Will provides the needed energy and knowledge for her limited operations albeit in her vast empire of the lower triple worlds of mind, life and body. Therefore, to change anything radically in nature is impossible without the sanction of the original Divine Will of which the Divine Mother is the human embodiment. Tantra, which came close to this secret, turned to the Divine Śakti for everything, including freedom from the chords of Prakṛti and going beyond the names and forms built by Maya towards the utter liberation in the Iśvara

Here, in Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga, which reconciled the Vedantic Yogas and the Yoga of the Tantra, one turns to the Divine Mother and surrenders completely to Her to infuse this New Divine Impulsion in nature and through her into creation, including matter and bodies built of the mud and clay of earth nature. It means to be free of all limits and limitations, it means endless possibilities in life, growing increasingly divine. It means the direct contact and union of the Supreme as the Creator with the most material and outward aspects of creation, and not as it now is, indirectly through the veils of a limited movement and works of an inferior nature subject to the boundaries of Ignorance. This means true freedom in the highest sense that comes through the union with the Divine and in the completest sense since it would include in its scope not only freedom of the soul but also freedom of the body through its progressive divinisation. The Mother describes this as the resurrection for which creation has waited for ages. She reveals:

“Resurrection means, for us, the falling off of the old consciousness; but it is not only a rebirth, a sudden change which completely breaks with the past. There is a certain continuity in it between dying to your old self, your low exterior nature and starting quite anew. In the experience of resurrection the movement of discarding the old being is closely connected with that of the rising up from it of the new consciousness and the new strength, so that from what is thrown off the best can unite in a new creation with what has succeeded. The true significance of resurrection is that the Divine Consciousness awakes from the unconsciousness into which it has gone down and lost itself, the Divine Consciousness becomes once more aware of itself in spite of its descent into the world of death, night and obscurity. That world of obscurity is darker even than our physical night: if you came up after plunging into it you would actually find the most impenetrable night clear, just as returning from the true Light of the Divine Consciousness, the Supramental Light without obscurity, you would find the physical sun black. But even in the depths of that supreme darkness the supreme Light lies hidden. Let that Light and that Consciousness awaken in you, let there be the great Resurrection (8).”

She adds:

“Do you know what the flower which we have called ‘Successful Future’ signifies when given to you? It signifies the hope — nay, even the promise — that you will participate in the descent of the supramental world. For that descent will be the successful consummation of our work, a descent of which the full glory has not yet been or else the whole face of life would have been different. By slow degrees the Supramental is exerting its influence; now one part of the being and now another feels the embrace or the touch of its divinity; but when it comes down in all its self-existent power, a supreme radical change will seize the whole nature. We are moving nearer and nearer the hour of its complete triumph. Once the world-conditions are ready the full descent will take place carrying everything before it. Its presence will be unmistakable, its force will brook no resistance, doubts and difficulties will not torture you any longer. For the Divine will stand manifest — unveiled in its total perfection. I do not, however, mean to say that the whole world will at once feel its presence or be transformed; but I do mean that a part of humanity will know and participate in its descent — say, this little world of ours here. From there the transfiguring grace will most effectively radiate. And, fortunately for the aspirants, that successful future will materialise for them in spite of all the obstacles set in its way by unregenerate human nature (9)!”

She completes by hinting at the attributes of a body that becomes the field of the Yoga joining the two extreme poles into one consciousness, the material and the spiritual reconciling their opposition in a harmonious and victorious fulfilment of the Divine Intention in creation through our humanity.

“One of the greatest victories of this ineffable humility of God will be the transformation of Matter which is apparently the most undivine. Supramental plasticity is an attribute of finally transformed Matter. The supramental body which has to be brought into being here has four main attributes: lightness, adaptability, plasticity and luminosity. When the physical body is thoroughly divinised, it will feel as if it were always walking on air, there will be no heaviness or tamas or unconsciousness in it. There will also be no end to its power of adaptability: in whatever conditions it is placed it will immediately be equal to the demands made upon it because its full consciousness will drive out all that inertia and incapacity which usually make Matter a drag on the Spirit. Supramental plasticity will enable it to stand the attack of every hostile force which strives to pierce it: it will present no dull resistance to the attack but will be, on the contrary, so pliant as to nullify the force by giving way to it to pass off. Thus it will suffer no harmful consequences and the most deadly attacks will leave it unscathed. Lastly, it will be turned into the stuff of light, each cell will radiate the supramental glory. Not only those who are developed enough to have their subtle sight open but the ordinary man too will be able to perceive this luminosity. It will be an evident fact to each and all, a permanent proof of the transformation which will convince even the most sceptical.

“The bodily transformation will be the supreme spiritual rebirth — an utter casting away of all the ordinary past. For spiritual rebirth means the constant throwing away of our previous associations and circumstances and proceeding to live as if at each virgin moment we were starting life anew. It is to be free of what is called Karma, the stream of our past actions: in other words, a liberation from the bondage of Nature’s common activity of cause and effect. When this cutting away of the past is triumphantly accomplished in the consciousness, all those mistakes, blunders, errors and follies which, still vivid in our recollection, cling to us like leeches sucking our life-blood, drop away, leaving us most joyfully free. This freedom is not a mere matter of thought; it is the most solid, practical, material fact. We really are free, nothing binds us, nothing affects us, there is no obsession of responsibility. If we want to counteract, annul or outgrow our past, we cannot do it by mere repentance or similar things, we must forget that the untransformed past has ever been and enter into an enlightened state of consciousness which breaks loose from all moorings. To be reborn means to enter, first of all, into our psychic consciousness where we are one with the Divine and eternally free from the reactions of Karma. Without becoming aware of the psychic, it is not possible to do so; but once we are securely conscious of the true soul in us which is always surrendered to the Divine, all bondage ceases. Then incessantly life begins afresh, then the past no longer cleaves to us. To give you an idea of the final height of spiritual rebirth, I may say that there can be a constant experience of the whole universe actually disappearing at every instant and being at every instant newly created (10)!”


1. Sri Aurobindo. The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo. Volume 13. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1998, pp. 87-88.

2. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 32; 2012, p, 26.

3. Ibid., p. 8.

4. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 19; 1997, p.95.

5. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 23, p 8.

6. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 1; 2003, p. 507.

7. Sri Aurobindo. Complete Works, Volume 23, pp. 43-44.

8. The Mother. The Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 3. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2003, p. 147.

9. Ibid., p. !80.

10. Ibid., pp. 175-77.

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