Surface, Subliminal and Psychic consciousness
There are four words in this chapter which are very important: inner, inmost, higher, highest, and these four words have special meanings. When the word inner is used, there is a reference to what is called technically subliminal; and the subliminal has three strata: the inner physical, inner vital, inner mental. These three constitute the inner being and behind these three, there is the inmost and that is the psychic being. When we use the word higher we mean something that is above the mind. Above the mind there is a realm of spiritual experience as distinguished from subliminal and psychic; as you go higher you have the realm of spiritual experience. And then you go to the highest, then you have the Supramental experience.
Normally when we begin to go inward, it is the inner being that we come across – i.e. the inner physical, inner vital, inner mental. These three together are called the subliminal being. Subliminal means that which is behind the threshold, as distinguished from the surface consciousness. Surface consciousness is the consciousness of which we are ordinarily aware – whatever we are aware of by means of senses, eyes and ears and tongue and touch. All that we are aware of by means of senses is the surface consciousness. And when we go behind this surface, when we draw inwards then we become aware of a larger physical being – not that narrow physical being of which we are aware but there is a larger physical being – and we become aware of a larger vital being, and a larger mental being. The matter of which we are aware on the surface is the gross matter but as we go inward we begin to become aware of the subtle matter. And behind it, is the realm of feelings, emotions, attractions, longings, desires, ambitions but as distinguished from the surface desires and surface ambitions, these are larger. Similarly as distinguished from the surface mind in which we are aware of immediate ideas, ordinary ideas, day to day ideas, in the inner mind we are aware of larger ideas, aware of more systematic ideas, more organised ideas. It is the realm of pure ideas.
But these three though larger, they are still subordinate to the inmost. The inmost is the psychic entity. If you try to go deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper, you will get the real feeling of inmost which is that of inherent sweetness, the warmth of sweetness. The very characteristic of the psychic entity is that of inherent sweetness, it does not depend upon any outer circumstances. Whether we are praised or insulted, honoured or dishonoured, whether things are comfortable or uncomfortable, in the psychic consciousness everything is sweet, inherently. It is inherently pure, even if impure ideas or desires touch it, this is not polluted, it is like the lotus leaf on which however much water you may sprinkle, it remains absolutely dry. Similarly with this psychic entity; whatever impurities you may drop on it, it remains extremely pure. Therefore it is also called the fire. The fire is always pure, it purifies other things but you cannot pollute the fire. In fact, the outer fire is only the symbol of the inner fire, of the psychic fire. That is the real fire; the outer fire is only a reflection of it. The psychic entity is even more alive than our life. It is by breathing that we live and breathe is called the life–force and we call ourselves living by virtue of breathing, but the psychic entity is even more alive than breathing, it does not even need breathing for its life. Even through the death of the physical body it remains alive. It is that which is immortal, it is inextinguishable; it is constantly in touch with the Divine. The psychic being is always in touch with the Divine; it does not need to make an effort to get in touch with the Divine. It is always in touch with the Divine, it does not require the proof of the existence of God. It is the mind which requires the proof but the psychic entity, since it is constantly in touch with the Divine, is a seat of certainty. And finally it has an inherent knowledge of God's will in it. What God has willed, that knowledge, the soul, the psychic entity has inherently in it. Not only has it the knowledge, it has also the power to manifest it. This therefore is the inmost being in us. In each one of us it is present and because of its presence we can safely speak to anybody of the deeper things, nobler things, and even if the mind does not understand, of God, Divine and so on. The psychic entity understands it and responds to it in spite of our mind.