On Vital Force with Ques & Ans - 16 April 2000

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This force ... is capable of having a certain poise in regard to consciousness. It is because of these different poises of consciousness with regard to the force that we have in this world three levels of manifestation of force: matter is also force; what you call life is also force; what you call mind is also force. But in matter, force is much more prominent, so much prominent that consciousness is subdued completely. In life, the consciousness begins to emerge a little – what you call life. In mind, it begins to manifest much more, prominently. And when you go beyond the mind in the Supermind, the force becomes subordinate to consciousness or there is, we might say, the predominance of consciousness governing and commanding the force. In a sense therefore you might say, the whole world is life. But the distinction that we make between matter and life on one hand, and life and mind on the other, is only because of the predominance of force in comparison with consciousness. Matter is also life, except that what we call material is action of energy in which consciousness is so much subdued that you hardly even perceive it, you can even hardly recognize it. It is only with great difficulty that you can even detect it. It is like a typist: when he comes to a tremendous force and speed of typing, the typist even forgets that he is typing; the consciousness in the typist is lost. The activity becomes so powerful, it is like a machine that goes on, and the capacity is so tremendous that there is no need even to look back. The right thing will happen at the right moment, the right key will be pressed at the right moment, automatically as it were. So matter is nothing but conscious energy which is at work, and there is such a tremendous preponderance of work that consciousness is lost in it. There is no need even. What is to be done will be done automatically and that is why, in matter, everything is accurately done. Whatever limited function is to be done in matter... As Sri Aurobindo says, in the inconscient – even matter is still little conscious, more organized, – but in inconscient particularly, it is a kind of a blind sight, a sight which is clear, but it is blind. It is not aware that it is a sight. So... but even matter is life; there is nothing but life only everywhere, it is a conscious force.

What we call life as distinguished from matter. In fact Sri Aurobindo has discussed this problem at length in his chapter on Life – is the nervous response. What is distinguishing life from matter is a nervous response, which you find even in plants. There is a response, it is a nervous response, there is a kind of a liking, disliking, there is a shrinking, there is coming forward, there is a kind of a response, you touch a thing.... Even in matter you touch something and there is a response, there is a reaction. But there is a nervous response, that is to say, there is some kind of shrinkage or some kind of a coming forward, which deviates from the normal material response. Material responses are purely mechanical, whereas in life the response is nervous. The nerve action takes place in which there are rudiments of what we call pleasure, pain, indifference – rudiments. That is how Jagdish Chandra Bose could show that plants are happy or plants are shrinking away, there is a fatigue, he even showed that even matter has fatigue and there is some kind of beginning of nervous reaction even in matter. So in any case this nervous reaction is a sign of a distinguishing feature between matter and life.

What is then the distinguishing feature between mind and life?

In mind there is a beginning of what we call not only consciousness but also self-consciousness. In fact it is very difficult to distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness. Even a slight consciousness begins to have some kind of a self-consciousness. In other words, in the consciousness there is a power of withdrawing from itself. It is a very special kind of a capacity in all mentality; capacity to withdraw from force, from activity. And it is this which constitutes self-consciousness. The moment you withdraw from activity to some extent you become aware of awareness, you become aware of yourself; and then there are depths and depths of this self-awareness. You can be aware that you are aware that you are aware that you are aware that you are aware. It is like a mirror posed against another mirror and then you can immediately see infinite series of images. Now, this is a special quality of consciousness; that beginning of it is what we call mind. And then there can be many more stages of mental consciousness.

And what distinguishes mind from the Supermind because even Supermind is life – is dynamism. But there is a complete... what we call "comprehensive consciousness." In the case of the mind, there is what Sri Aurobindo calls "apprehensive consciousness". Leibniz made a distinction between perception and apperception: when I perceive, it is an act of perception, but when I perceive that I perceive, it is called apperception, in Leibniz psychology – you perceive that you perceive, that is apperception. Now, "apprehension" is exactly this apperception, you perceive that you perceive, but, in Supermind there is comprehension; not only you apperceive but you comprehend, you perceive comprehensively. When the totality is perceived as a whole, when there is a perception also at the same time of each individual standpoint, perceiving the whole and all the different points of view, perceiving differently all of them, all this held together is comprehensive consciousness. It is as if in this room, you are capable of perceiving the totality, as it were, from above. At the same time you are able to perceive the totality from your point of view, from your angle, but at the same time you are able to perceive all from each one's point of view at the same time; all this taken together is a supramental perception. Therefore in Supermind, there is 'a complete understanding, a complete control of action, and there is no opposition at all' because you perceive everything also from each point of view and you see how everything harmonizes; there is no conflict because we are all sitting together here, nobody is as it were elbowing the other out. It is in the mind that we elbow out everybody else because there is no apperception, only apprehensive perception, you only perceive everything from your point of view and you are not able to take in the point of view of others.

Even trying, at the highest level of mental consciousness, what we call "synthesis" is an attempt of that kind. I try to perceive how Muslims look at this world, how a Christian looks at the world, how a Hindu looks at the world, how a Jew looks at the world and how a Sikh looks at the world and so on. Then there is no conflict. If you are able to see even at the mental level and this is what is the latest development in the world, people are trying to see the world from different points of view – even then, there is some kind of a conflict, in which you say that, well this point of view is superior to the other point of view. This is the idea of tolerance: "My point of view is the best, but your point of view is also alright and that point of view also seems to be so-so. But we can all accommodate, I will not quarrel with you deliberately." So this is a kind of a sense of tolerance that we try to arrive at, at our very highest level of our consciousness.

You can even go beyond mentally and therefore you can arrive at a very large perception in which you can say, Well, I can also react in the world as a Muslim, not that I am a Hindu, I can identify myself with a Muslim and I can see the world totally in that light in which I have no quarrel with the Muslim point of view at all. I can see from the Jew's point of view the whole world and I have no quarrel because, it is my point of view, not his point of view; that is, I can shift myself from my identity here and I can become Donald, for example, for a moment, and I can see the world as he sees it and I don't say that "as he sees it": as l see it.  His point of view is my point of view and so there is no quarrel at all with that point of view. Now this is at a very high level of synthesis that you achieve it, but with a great effort. The whole difficulty with the mind is that whenever it tries to synthesize, it is as if entering a foreign domain.

Domain is division, particularity, particularity of standpoint, a preference for a standpoint. But as you rise to a higher level – which is a foreign land, as it were, for the mind, but mind is capable of it because, after all, mind is not basically separated from the Supermind; as Sri Aurobindo says, mind is only the last action of the Supermind. So, if you rise from the mind towards the Supermind, you enter into a perception where you can have a vision in which you really begin to feel, "Why am I quarreling with this? It is my own point of view!", and you feel surprised afterwards when you look back as to why you were quarrelling with the other person. You really understand, as Mother says, that, when there is a real synthesis, each point of view is fully satisfied, each point of view – you really find that that perception has a truth in it and it is a very legitimate truth and the complete truth cannot be present unless that truth is also present in this one. That is the beginning of the supramental perception.

And then when you enter into it, really, then Sri Aurobindo speaks of the three statuses of the Supermind. Even in the Supermind, there are three poises. In fact we have in the Hindu tradition, the conception of Sri Krishna's as a Raslila. Rasa is a kind of a dance in a circle in which all the participants of the dance make a circle and there are many movements of the circle, in which ultimately, there is a circle in which two partners – they are divided into two partners, each is a couple as it were and this couple gives response to each other absolutely in a synchronicity, that is when I raise my hand here, the other hand, opposite hand exactly is raised simultaneously and it synchronizes perfectly well. The perception of Sri Krishna's dance is that each partner in each couple is Sri Krishna himself, so that the Supreme is as it were with each individual. There is a complete satisfaction that you have met the Supreme, almost alone; this whole idea of exclusiveness in the world has its origin here. Why does love demand exclusiveness, because there is something like an individual having an exclusive love of the supreme, of the transcendental. The transcendental of course includes everybody and yet my individuality is fully satisfied. Now, this is not a complete perception but it is even then a poise and as a poise, it is very, very satisfying, and that is why this is called "the status of blissful dualism": me and the Supreme, alone – this word "alone" is only a kind of a concession because there is nothing like alone in this world. But there is something like what we call individuality, a partial manifestation of the Supreme in which the Supreme is entirely in it, in its totality, and it is partial manifestation. Now this is the third status, the last status of the Supermind when you are moving upwards. Then there is a higher point of view, a higher status of the Supermind where each individual emphasizes its individuality but not excluding others. Each individual is one with the whole, one with the Supreme. There is an emphasis upon this particular standpoint which I am representing, but I am also able to perceive all other points of view. I retain my point of view as my point of view only as a part of the play, not by means of excluding others. It's only for the sake of a play and deliberately I know that it is a play, only for the sake of the richness of diversity, so that you are actually able to be with everybody else as if it is yourself. And the third status is the one in which there is no emphasis on your individuality at all, everything is perceived, the totality is perceived in which you can be anywhere, you do not even exist as you. We have a perception, something of this kind, in the concept of India having thousand eyes, if you possess thousand eyes, which is your eye? If you have thousand eyes, and if you see everything with thousand eyes, which is your eye? Each eye is your eye, and you perceive things variously. With two eyes of course we see things very distinctly, but if you have thousand eyes maybe you will perceive things in a more complex manner. And then you will not be able to say: this is my perception; you will have each perception as your perception. So, Bhavana is looking at me, I can also say that I am looking at myself. It's not that she is looking at me; I'm looking at myself, from that point of view. So I have no identification with any particular standpoint. So when this standpoint is seen, totality at the same time, each individual emphasizing different perceptions from a certain angle, and each standpoint is seen as one's own standpoint, when all this is perceived at the same time, then it becomes the supramental perception.

Now, the problem of human life is only this, that there is a great division between consciousness and force. The force is more predominant and consciousness is less dominant. It is not as if consciousness is commanding the force. That will be the highest level: the conscious force, not force conscious. It is force, its conscious force. Consciousness is predominant, and consciousness is directing the force. That is supramental. But in our case, the force is, as it were more predominant. It is like the horses which are not reined. All of us are like horses un-reined, as it were, and we are running and our consciousness is limping behind. It's not capable of controlling or reining, and all these horses are given free movement and each one wants to run according to its own power. Therefore there is a big collusion, a big conflict. Each one tries to embrace the whole, actually each one is trying supramental perception. Each one is trying to have the whole, totality. This is the fundamental urge since totality exists. Each one however being limited now in his movement of force, and the consciousness being absent, or very much subdued, each force is running; running towards what? Towards what is, and what is the totality so each one is trying to embrace the totality. Now if there is the supramental consciousness, it would know how to embrace totality or it would be automatically total. But since that is behind, the force is moving forward and it does not know how to catch the totality. So we are lame human beings as if were, trying to catch the entirety of the universe in our embrace. And all dissatisfaction arises because we cannot do it. And the struggle comes because I try to do it and I want to do it. And I don't see that I can do it very easily, if I just turn back and have consciousness behind. And then I would see that the totality is already present. I don't need to capture totality. Totality is already present, is already possessed. That is why all yoga is nothing but a kind of a recoil, a moving inward and perceiving really what exists. And which is totality already, and the perceiving of totality and possessing totality becomes one. It is not: Now I see totality, and now I possess it. Perception of totality and possessing totality is simultaneous. The moment I see... It's like a child seeing something from far off, and then saying: I want to have it. But if you become more mature, you see that even there and here makes no difference. It is lying there, it is mine, and whenever I want it I can use it. The child doesn't feel that way, the child says: only when I possess it in my hand then I can say it's mine, I can use it whenever I want, but so long as it is in his hand it is not correct. But the real perception says: everywhere everything is mine, what is not mine in this world? The whole sky and the whole earth is mine. This is the real meaning of the supramental perception where to be is to be all. To be is to possess all, automatically. Even to perceive all is to possess all. And the whole human life is nothing but a great drive to possess.

That's why yesterday when I defined life I spoke of possession as the fundamental drive of life-force. The whole life is nothing but possession, a drive towards possession. Everybody is trying to possess. It is as if you have lost your own self, you have lost your child, it is there and you want to possess it, to bring back, without realizing that in this world nothing is lost. Once Mother was told by somebody, a disciple: Mother, we should collect all your paintings (there are so many paintings she has done), otherwise they will get lost. So Mother said: Where will they get lost? They are wherever they are they are. Where will they be lost? In infinity and eternity what is lost? Everything is. But this is the difficulty because the consciousness has been subdued.

Therefore in the force which is moving forward, it is, as it were, driving itself blindly with an instinct within it to possess all, to be all. But since the consciousness is capable of possessing all is absent, we cannot do it and that is the problem. All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony. That is to say, we are in a state of collision with others, thinking that that thing which is away from me is going to disturb me. He is my enemy, he is my obstruction and I want to conquer it. Therefore there is a struggle. But in the other consciousness, as Sri Aurobindo said, who is my enemy? The one who took me to the great embrace of the Divine? It is the one who takes you to the Divine embrace. When somebody obstructs you because you want to go this way, this is your perception that this is your real way; and somebody seems to be obstructing you, but because he is obstructing, he is putting you behind so that you can go to the divine where is the key for all. As Sri Aurobindo said in the Alipore case, the Judge was there, the Prosecutor was there, the Prosecutor was putting forward all the arguments against Sri Aurobindo, and Sri Aurobindo said: when I looked at the Prosecutor, I saw Narayana there, and when I looked at the Judge it was Narayana smiling at me. This is the real perception in which the whole world everywhere, wherever you look at it, it is the Supreme looking at you, inviting you, calling you, it is the Divine conversing with you, it is the play of the divine. You yourself are not you; you are not divided from the others. Even your own stand, what you call your individuality is lost in a certain sense, accepting as a play. You can be somebody else altogether and this is what we are really always. It is our wrong perception that we identify with only this particular body and this particular space and time. But I am that one also. That is why Sri Aurobindo says: the salvation is always cosmic. When you say that I am liberated and others are still bound, how can you say you are liberated? He also is you and that also is you. So salvation is basically cosmic, that is why Buddha, when he was on the standpoint of Nirvana, said: I will not enter into it unless all are liberated. Each one has to be liberated for the complete enjoyment of that rasa of Sri Krishna. Each one of us is a Gopi in relation to Sri Krishna, and each one is the other one. Each one is the divine; each one is the playmate of the divine. This is the supramental perception.

Since it is absent we have a problem. It is a force without consciousness or with very little consciousness or a growing consciousness. It is this growing consciousness which creates a great deal of disequilibrium. As long as there is no growth of consciousness, there is some kind of harmony, that is to say I am already stuck with a little thing and I am enjoying my little game all the time, and equilibrium is reached in a small circle. The moment I want to grow and expand, there is a disequilibrium and there is a movement of pain. In fact, all pain is result of the incapacity to absorb a force from outside. We have often experienced: when a very important interview is to take place, I have to meet somebody and one feels nervous because some person is to be contacted, one does not know what will happen, what kind of questions will come up, whether I will be able to answer the questions, whether there will be a real response or not? All these anxieties will arise and therefore there is a nervousness at least. Sometimes even some kind of rejection, saying no, no, I don't want to face this interview, l don't want to enter into in at all, it pains you. Or when there is a question which is put in the interview and you are not able to answer it, it gives you great pain, great suffering. That is because you are not being able to meet a force from outside with a force from yourself. So, there is a disequilibrium, it is that which causes suffering and pain. Even what you call desire is nothing but a drive which does not know that everything is possessed already. It is because we are not in a state of self - possession that we want to possess, as it were, externally, which can never be actually; all possession is by consciousness, which is capable of having anything whenever it wants. Therefore, there is no desire in it. All incapacity is only a capacity which has been withheld. All capacity is nothing but a translation of consciousness and will, and when it is not being manifested, when that consciousness is not present and you are only driving, then there is no sufficient force, no sufficient capacity, but that capacity can be born as soon as you become conscious. The consciousness is enlarged, the capacity is born out of it. All incapacity is a capacity which has been withheld.

Now the entire life force that we want to examine, is the division between consciousness and force and how human life has been a gradual development where the constant attempt is to unite consciousness with force. The whole journey of life, individual or collective, is to bring about a harmony between force and consciousness. The greater is the development of consciousness, the greater is the movement of force and triumphant force, which succeeds, which is victorious, which possesses what it wants to possess. So what you now come to call vital being is that movement of energy in us, which strives to possess, to acquire, to fight, to battle, to achieve, realize, by gradual development of higher and higher consciousness, wider and wider consciousness, deeper and deeper consciousness, so that ultimately everything is possessed, everything is achieved, everything is victoriously owned without any struggle, automatically. As Sri Aurobindo says, in Yoga also and all life is nothing but yoga; unconsciously we are doing nothing but yoga, but consciously we also can practice it, so that it can be done much more easily and much more quickly, so that in the beginning, of course, there has to be a great emphasis on personal effort and for a long time, because we are ignorant and our consciousness is not tuned with our force. We have actually much more force than our consciousness, so in the beginning therefore the force is more prominent and therefore there is a tremendous element of struggle, and we should not disbalance this immediately because without a real consciousness you cannot imitate it. When you have full consciousness, there is no struggle, but you cannot say that because there is consciousness anywhere, therefore I will not struggle. It will be as it were hitting on a wrong box, because there is no consciousness of that kind, you are not possessing everything in your consciousness. Therefore in the beginning personal effort and struggle is necessary, but as we move forward we begin to perceive that with expansion of consciousness things become much more easy of attainment and at a certain time when the consciousness becomes perfect or supramental, then what is willed is realized on the spot, instantaneous realization. There is no effort, you just will, it happens. This is the real meaning of the blessing from the Supreme, because when the Supreme says yes, it is immediately realized. So it is invocation of that consciousness, which is the consciousness which can immediately actualize itself. In India there is a word called tathasthu: let it be so. So somebody prays: asatoma sadgamaya: from the falsehood, from the nonbeing take me of the being, tamaso ma jyotirgamaya, from darkness lead me to the light, mrityorma amritam gamaya, from death lead me to immortality. Then the Supreme, or the Teacher says tathasthu, it happens immediately. There is no break in time. The moment it said yes, it is yes, it happens automatically. This is what Mother said: when she met Sri Aurobindo for the first time, Mother said to Sri Aurobindo: I see the supramental above. That is, Mother had already discovered the supramental before she came to Sri Aurobindo. "I see the supramental above, but can it come on the earth?" Sri Aurobindo said "yes" and Mother said: as soon as he said yes, supramental began to descend on the earth. As soon as he said "yes", on the spot it began to descend on the earth. This is the power of the supramental consciousness. And this is the real justification of people seeking blessing; blessing is from somebody who has that perception, that consciousness, that comprehensiveness, and who in his comprehensive consciousness, possesses all. We who are seeking blessing are in need of actualization, so when we approach somebody who has got that comprehensive consciousness, and when there is a meeting point of your demand and then there is a response, then what you are in need of is immediately the door is open, it is immediately given. That's why Fairy Tales are true stories, Open Sesame is a true story. The world is very easy basically, there are no problems of life; you just will as Mother says "Awake and will" and that is the real process. You just awake and will, and it will happen. The world is a fairy tale actually. In fact everything in the world is a miracle. The distance between now and tomorrow in a sense is tremendous but as in a fairy tale the distance between now and tomorrow is only one second, or hardly even that. It happens, just you turn this way and whole thing is beautifully available with you. The moment before there was nothing before you, and now you just turn and everything is here. This is the real exploration of human life. The whole humanity has been struggling because there is this displancement between consciousness and force and force is driving itself ignorantly, and by various kinds of experiences it turns backward, it takes possession of consciousness, comes forward and then achieves. In fact every achievement in this world is a miracle. People do not really see it because then you do not have the credit for having achieved anything, but actually speaking all achievements are miracles and it is a spontaneous flowering. In fact the word flowering is a very correct word. What is a flower? You cannot fabricate a flower, it is a miracle, it just happens, it grows automatically. So if flowering is a miracle and a constant miracle, all our activities are miracles, all our life is a miracle, instantaneous realization of whatever is willed. So in a sense, you may say the whole world is a divine world already.

But there is a struggle aspect of life because of our present disbalance between the consciousness and force. And that is how we begin to examine our vital being, which consists of instincts, impulses, desires, emotions, ambitions, attractions, repulsions, satisfactions, various kinds of drives, and will. This whole totality is what we can call the vital being in us. Now each element that we described just now: instincts, desires, etc., has three elements. There is the element of a drive, and there is the element of consciousness,, and there is an element of a core of experience.

Let us take instinct. We all know that when we are hungry, there is an instinct for food. Nobody needs to be taught, the seeking for food is an automatic seeking. It is a drive and that drive is, when you are hungry you enter the house, and when you are hungry your eyes will go straight to the kitchen. Nothing else will matter so much if you are really hungry, unless there are some other instincts at work simultaneously. But if you are really supremely hungry and nothing else, nothing else will attract you, your whole thought will go on this fundamental point where the food is. So there is a drive towards food, and there is a consciousness in you, but very subdued consciousness. You are not fully aware, it is the food which will give you the satisfaction to your hunger, it is an insight. Insight that the food is the instrument by which your hunger can be satisfied, and then there is an experience, a drive which has an emotional core in it. You feel as it were energetic, even when you are very ill but very hungry at the same time, you will have the energy to catch grasp at the food. The energy, that experience, the core begins to manifest very clearly. So in every instinct these three elements are present: The insight or the knowledge aspect is very subdued, it is automatic you might say. In instinct, drive is more powerful, but the element of consciousness, insight, is also present but very much subdued. This is as it were wrapped up in your activity. And the emotional core, which gives you, you might say, some kind of delight. In every instinctive movement there is a delight; even in the fighting instinct, there is a delight. You may get bruises, you may get insulted and therefore you are bruised, but in the fight there is also a kind of a delight. There is a conflict, as long as it is instinctive, in the actual manifestation of instinct there is always some delight. Because of the delight, that activity is upheld, that's how wrestlers for example take a big delight, even if they are beaten up, it is a delightful experience, the combating. Now as you go upwards, the element of automatically becomes weaker. In instinct, automatically is powerful; something you cannot resist. All instinctive activities are irresistible, automatic, unlearned. You do not need to learn, they are present. They automatically come into operation. As we rise higher, the automaticity becomes lesser. The consciousness begins to become more and more predominant.

In desire, for example, lot of instinct is involved in desire, something irresistible is present in desire, but not so much of automaticity as in the instinct. In desire, you can, first of all, determine the object; a consciousness operates and you determine very dearly that this is an object. You can even wait before the object is seized. There is not so much of irresistibility that you cannot wait at all. Sometimes there is a tremendous force, but very often you are able to determine your timing as to when the object is to be grasped; you can wait. A child when he begins to become slightly bigger, if I tell the child: would you like to have ice cream? and the mother has told the child: do not immediately take it. So the child desires it, he likes it very much, but out of courtesy which has been taught, the child said no, no, no, I don't want. But when he looks at the mother, mother says: don't worry; and then he immediately grasps, begins to eat. The instinct is present, but it has already become some kind of an element of desire, in which you can wait, you do not merely grasp what is presented as the object. The object and yourself are somewhat distinguished between, and then, at a higher level of desire, you can plan the methods by which the object can be realized, can be grasped. This is what happens sometimes in cold-blooded murders. I am sorry but I am telling only as a good example. The object is to eliminate somebody, it is a desire, you cannot resist it. It is a desire, but, one waits. One plans out the whole thing, so that he knows ultimately he won't be even caught. So it is a kind of a desire in which the consciousness begins to play a role, and the automaticity is not so very speedy. So in every moment of desire this is a very extreme example of cold-blooded murders but in most of the desires, there is a kind of planning, plotting, and ultimate object is obtained. After getting it whether you are satisfied or not is a different question, but at least as long as the desire operates there here is a perception of an object, some clarity of why you want that object, and some kind of planning goes into the operation and you decide the steps by which you can have it. Even then your planning may not succeed because your consciousness is very limited. It only seizes a few facts around and thinks that now if I do this I will be able to get it, but you may not get it. The crow may come and take away your jewel before you can achieve it. It can happen, because  am not conscious of all the things. But in every movement of desire, there is an object, there is a consciousness and there is a planning which goes into the operation, as a result of which the object is sufficiently grasped and possessed.

Now desires are of various kinds. Sri Aurobindo distinguishes between petty desires and other desires which constitute long-standing attractions: there are attractions of such a nature that you can even wait for a long time before you really achieve the object, and whatever happens in the meantime does not affect your attractions. It is, as it were, a deep-seated desire, very powerful. It does not require to be achieved right now, you can wait patiently. You know even that it is not easy to achieve it, but the attraction is so great that it does not fade, sometimes even as the time passes the attraction becomes even greater and greater and pulls you tremendously. The desire for fame, for example: I had a friend who wanted to become a film director at a very young age. At a very young age was a big problem, because then it becomes very quick. He was already 25 when I met him, and he wanted to be a big film director; but he knew that to be a famous film director requires a lot of time; but that was his passion as it were. He joined the film industry, he became assistant director within two years. I mean, he worked so hard that he became assistant director within two years; but then the journey from assistant directorship to the directorship is a very troublesome, very difficult one. Lot of competition, it requires lot of energy, lot of genius, but I know how much there was a tremendous attraction for that fame, tremendous attraction and the greater the defeat he got, the greater was the effort on his side. No, no getting depression; if there was a difficulty he was climbing up, as it were, achieving certain things overnight as it were. Certain capacities, certain things to be read, studied, mastered, it was so quick. At the age of 29 he became a director. So it was a great achievement: within four years to rise from ordinary scriptwriter to director. It was a very quick movement, but for four years it was a kind of a drive; sometimes you may require 15 years, 20 years, 30 years to achieve that kind of a fame. It is a long-standing attraction, it is also a desire.

Petty desires also: like, I want a smile from somebody, I want to have the company of somebody, I want to eat this thing, I want to eat that thing. These are also desires, petty desires. Then there is also repulsion, just as there is attraction, there is also repulsion. There are long-standing repulsions, like in the story of Pride and Prejudice: because of the pride and prejudice the repulsion is very great. The moment that person comes in the scene you are immediately repelled, like a chemistry, sulphur and water. There is an immediate explosion. So this whole realm of desires can be divided into these three parts, petty desires, long-standing attractions and repulsions, and others which are average. Neither long-standing nor petty This is our basic life, ordinary desires.

Then there is a realm of emotions. Sri Aurobindo distinguishes between lower vital and higher vital. The lower vital consists of all this that I have said so far, and the higher vital consists of emotions, joy, sorrow, hope, despair. These are emotions. It is the higher vital, not because it is more sublime, but because the origin of emotions is in the higher region of our being. Sri Aurobindo says that in his whole psychology the classification that he has made is based upon the root from where a particular thing arises. The physical is lower than the vital because the root of the physical is, in our complexity of the being, at the lowest level. Now lower and higher depends upon the perception of what is called the occult spinal cord, not the physical spinal cord, but the occult spinal cord. Each one of us has got as it were a series of centers located occultly along the spinal cord. Now at the top, is a center, and even beyond what is top, is a center. Similarly, at the bottom there is a center and, even below that, is a center, and in between there are other centers. So what you call physicality is in the lowest center, that is to say, muladhara. It is the bottom center, it is called in Sanskrit muladhara. Mula means the root, the bottom root, and all our physical experiences are experienced in that center. In fact the centrality of experiences is always visible to all of us. When somebody insults you and you cannot bear the insult, you will normally find that the center is somewhere here in the heart somewhere, you feel some wrench in the heart; when there is jealously for example you will feel a wrench in your stomach as it were, because the seat of it is in the navel center. When there is extreme physical pain, the center will be muladhara. At the bottom of your being as it were, at the root point of the spinal cord, you will feel the real physical pain. When you want to express something, you will feel a very important vibration in your throat, and when you want to will something you will feel a great centrality as it were between the eyebrows. That is the real center of will. And when you really understand very quietly you feel the centrality in the center of your brain. And when you really understand, or really what is called overstand, not understand but overstand, you go beyond the skull as it were, you are on the top and you see everything with that centrality. As Mother says, when you go above your skull, then you are united with the divine. That's why Yogis try to go from.... They try to shift their centrality from point to point and as they raise higher and higher it becomes easier for them to enter into relationship with the divine, and if they succeed in going beyond the brain center, brain center gives you, you might say, intuition and some knowledge. But when you go above, you really feel that you are on the top of the hill, and you can see everything as it were under you. It is overstanding. You do not understand, you do not "stand under'. All understanding is as it were looking from below upwards, that is understanding. But when you go above and stand above and look everything down and feel it is so visible, it is overstanding. So when Sri Aurobindo speaks of the lower vital and the higher vital, the lower is a center in the navel, the desire is in the navel center basically, and emotions are in the higher vital, that is to say, they are in the heart center. Therefore it is the higher vital. And the will is in the center between the two eyebrows. This is called Ajnachakra. The chakra from where imperative will can be manifested. Ajna means imperative will.

So when we are discussing the question of the vital, we are actually concerned with the navel center up to the center between the eyebrows. This is the vital being and most of the human beings live between these three levels. Navel center, heart center and the center between the eyebrows, the third eye, what is called the third eye. Everyone has a third eye, not only Shiva, we are all Shivas in that sense, and each one has got the third eye. All people who have tremendous willpower, they usually work with this center powerfully. Very often therefore, when Yogis meet people, they are able to see at what level a given individual is operating, what is the predominant center. There are many good thinkers who only think expressively. Therefore they don't have original thoughts, but they have got only thoughts which are expressive. Their throat is very powerful, it vibrates very powerfully, it is very active. So you can say that this individual has great expressive power but not necessarily illuminative power. There are some other individuals who work at a higher level of the brain center, their thoughts may be very few, they may not be bubbling with so much of expressiveness but their thoughts are very illuminative. So you can judge an individual, how far an individual will be helpful, whether he will be helpful in this activity or that activity, that's how Yogis judge people very quickly, there is an assessment of individuals and there are immediate vibrations you can immediately experience automatically.

I think I have dwelt upon this subject at length and I have come to a limiting point in fact.