We want an integral transformation, the transformation of the body and
all its activities.
But there is an absolutely indispensable first step that must be accomplished
before anything else can be undertaken: the transformation of the consciousness.
The starting-point is of course the aspiration for this transformation
and the will to realise it; without that nothing can be done. But if in
addition to the aspiration there is an inner opening, a kind of receptivity,
then one can enter into this transformed consciousness at a single stroke
and maintain oneself there. This change of consciousness is abrupt, so
to say; when it occurs, it occurs all of a sudden, although the preparation
for it may have been long and slow. I am not speaking here of a mere change
in mental outlook, but of a change in the consciousness itself. It is
a complete and absolute change, a revolution in the basic poise; the movement
is like turning a ball inside out.
To the transformed consciousness everything appears not only new and different,
but almost the reverse of what it seemed to the ordinary consciousness.
In the ordinary consciousness you advance slowly, by successive experiences,
from ignorance to a very distant and often doubtful knowledge. In the
transformed consciousness your starting-point is knowledge and you proceed
from knowledge to knowledge.
However, this is only a beginning; for the outer consciousness, the various
planes and parts of the outer active being are transformed only slowly
and gradually as a result of the inner transformation.
There is a partial change of consciousness which makes you lose all interest
in things that you once found desirable; but it is only a change of consciousness
and not what we call the transformation.
For the transformation is fundamental and absolute; it is not merely a
change, but a reversal of consciousness: the being turns inside out, as
it were, and takes a completely different position. In this reversed consciousness
the being stands above life and things and deals with them from there;
it is at the centre of everything and directs its action outwards from
Whereas in the ordinary consciousness the being stands outside and below:
from outside it strives to reach the centre; from below, crushed by the
weight of its own ignorance and blindness, it struggles desperately to
rise above them. The ordinary consciousness is ignorant of what things
are in reality; it sees only their shell. But the true consciousness is
at the centre, at the heart of reality and has the direct vision of the
origin of all movements. Seated within and above, it knows the source,
the cause and effect of all things and forces.
I repeat, this reversal is sudden. Something opens within you and all
at once you find yourself in a new world.
The change may not be final and definitive to begin with; it sometimes
requires time to settle permanently and become your normal nature. But
once the change has taken place, it is there, in principle, once and for
all; and then what is needed is to express it gradually in the details
of practical life.
The first manifestation of the transformed consciousness always seems
to be abrupt. You do not feel that you are changing slowly and gradually
from one state into another; you feel that you are suddenly awakened or
newly born. No effort of the mind can lead you to this state, for with
the mind you cannot imagine what it is and no mental description can be
Such is the starting-point of all integral transformation.
in "Bulletin", August 1950
and in CWM, volume 12 "Education", pages
published by Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA