OF SRI AUROBINDO
by Sri Aurobindo Himself
The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India
that behind the appearances of the universe there is the Reality of a Being
and Consciousness, a Self of things, one and eternal. All beings are united
in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separativity on consciousness,
an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life and body.
It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil
of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity
within us and all.
Sri Aurobindo's teaching states that this One Being and Consciousness
is involved here in Matter. Evolution is the process by which it liberates
itself: consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient and once
having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and at the same time to
enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is
the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but
the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something
greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next
step of the evolution must be towards the development of Supermind and
Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then will
the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become
possible for life to manifest perfection.
But while the former steps in evolution were taken by Nature without
a conscious will in the plant and animal life, in man Nature becomes able
to evolve by a conscious will in the instrument. It is not, however, by
the mental will in man that this can be wholly done, for the mind goes
only to a certain point and after that can only move in a circle. A conversion
has to been made, a turning of the consciousness by which mind has to
change into the higher principle.
This method is to be found through the ancient psychological discipline
and practice of Yoga. In the past, it has been attempted by a drawing
away from the world and a disappearance into the height of the Self or
Spirit. Sri Aurobindo teaches that a descent of the higher principle is
possible which will not merely release the spiritual Self out of the world,
but release it in the world, replace the mind's ignorance or its very
limited knowledge by a supramental Truth-Consciousness which will be a
sufficient instrument of the inner Self and make it possible for a human
being to find himself dynamically as well as inwardly and grow out of
his still animal humanity into a diviner race. The psychological discipline
of Yoga can be used to that end by opening all the parts of the being
to a conversion or transformation through the descent and working of the
higher still concealed supramental principle.
This, however, cannot be done at once or in a short time or by any rapid
or miraculous transformation. Many steps have to be taken by the seeker
before the supramental descent is possible. Man lives mostly in his surface
mind, life and body, but there is an inner being within him with greater
possibilities to which he has to awake - for it is only a very restricted
influence from it that he receives now and that pushes him to a constant
pursuit of a greater beauty, harmony, power and knowledge.
The first process of Yoga is therefore to open the ranges of this inner
being and to live from there outward, governing his outward life by an
inner light and force. In doing so he discovers in himself his true soul
which is not this outer mixture of mental, vital and physical elements
but something of the Reality beyond them, a spark from the one Divine
Fire. He has to learn to live in his soul and purify and orientate by
its drive towards the Truth the rest of the nature.
There can follow afterwards an opening upward and descent of a higher
principle of the Being. But even then it is not at once the full supramental
Light and Force. For there are several ranges of consciousness between
the ordinary human mind and the supramental Truth-Consciousness. These
intervening ranges have to be opened up and their power brought down into
the mind, life and body. Only afterwards can the full power of the Truth-Consciousness
work in the nature.
The process of this self-discipline or sadhana is therefore long and
difficult, but even a little of it is so much gained because it makes
the ultimate release and perfection more possible.
There are many things belonging to older systems that are necessary
on the way - an opening of the mind to a greater wideness and to the sense
of the Self and the Infinite, an emergence into what has been called the
cosmic consciousness, mastery over the desires and passions; an outward
asceticism is not essential, but the conquest of desire and attachment
and a control over the body and its needs, greeds and instincts are indispensable.
There is a combination of the principles of the old systems, the way
of knowledge through the mind's discernment between Reality and the appearance,
the heart's way of devotion, love and surrender and the way of works turning
the will away from motives of self-interest to the Truth and the service
of a greater Reality than the ego. For the whole being has to be trained
so that it can respond and be transformed when it is possible for that
greater Light and Force to work in the nature.
In this discipline the inspiration of the Master and, in the difficult
stages, his control and his presence are indispensable - for it would
be impossible otherwise to go through it without much stumbling and error
which would prevent all chance of success. The Master is one who has risen
to a higher consciousness and being and he is often regarded as its manifestation
or representative. He not only helps by his teaching and still more by
his influence and example but by a power to communicate his own experience
This is Sri Aurobindo's teaching and method of practice. It is not his
object to develop any one religion or to amalgamate the older religions
or to found any new religion - for any of these things would lead away
from his central purpose.
The one aim of his Yoga is an inner self-development by which each
one who follows it can in time discover the One Self in all and evolve
a higher consciousness than the mental, a spiritual and supramental consciousness
which will transform and divinise human nature.
Sri Aurobindo wrote himself "The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo"
in 1934 as part of a booklet entitled "The Teaching and the Ashram of Sri
Reprinted in the booklet : "Sri Aurobindo and His Ashram" (first edition
1948) at Sri
Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA