Questions & Answers – Goodwill.
Question: And do we drop off other experiences also which are not helpful in evolution?
Yes. There are so many experiences which are going on. But the essential experience is only this, the art and science by which you are able to effect the consent of the body, life and mind to fall in line with the design of the soul, that is the real experience. It is by that that you grow really. The growth of the individual lies in this. That is why we said that what is important is self control and self knowledge; these two things are regarded to be very important in the growth. To achieve self control means how far the body, life and mind can be controlled so that they do not go haywire according to their own desires and the soul is able to effectuate its own will upon the body, life and mind. If you can learn this art, if this is done, then that is the most important thing.
Question: That means that the unconscious is that level of which we are not aware?
Unconscious has two meanings here. Unconscious may be subconscious or may be even superconscious, about both of which you are unconscious.
Question: Does the unconscious have past, present and future?
Yes, therefore I spoke of two levels. It consists of the subconscious and the superconscious. Memories of the past are all thrown down into the subconscious but there is another knowledge of which you speak just now, which inwardly knows what exactly is to be drawn out.
Question: When we take to any austerity or self control, does it mean that inherently something in us knows that the purpose of our life is evolution?
Yes, you might say there is an inherent knowledge within us of which we are not aware, therefore we call it unconscious. There is an inherent knowledge in us that the most important thing for us is the experience of self control, self-mastery and as a result of which you know what is the self itself. So, that is why what is important is not the memory of so many details of things but this experience of how you control the body, life and mind. In the example of Valmiki, it is this experience that he got by means of which he could liberate himself from all the anxiety about the family and about the kind of activities he was engaged in. There was a realisation which enabled him to overcome the attachments in which he was engrossed and he became free from them and he began to pursue what he felt was the right thing to do.
Question: What is self-knowledge?
Now self knowledge is a threefold knowledge: the knowledge of the soul which is growing all the time through birth after birth, second is the knowledge of that of which this soul is the delegate of and which is called in Indian terminology Jivatman, and third is the Supreme Self which is at once universal and transcendental. The knowledge of the transcendental and universal self is self-knowledge. The knowledge of the Jivatman, which is a portion of this transcendent universal self, is the second self-knowledge. And third is the delegate of this Jivatman which is in our body and which grows. This is the soul of which I spoke just now. The knowledge of the soul and its nature is also self-knowledge. So self-knowledge is triple Knowledge: the knowledge of the soul, the knowledge of the individual self or the Jivatman, and the knowledge of the supreme self, what is called Brahman or Atman in our Indian psychology.
Atman, Jivatman, and Chaitya Purusha, are the three aspects of the self of which we speak of, when we speak of self-knowledge.
Actually, your questions are very directly relevant to what we are going to discuss now because in fact I was going to start my talk with this description of – what Sri Aurobindo calls – the psychological ignorance and the constitutional ignorance. These are the two ignorances out of the sevenfold ignorance according to Sri Aurobindo. If you count our ignorance completely, the total picture of our ignorance is a sevenfold ignorance. That we shall take up later on but the two of these elements which are directly relevant to our present purpose is what is called psychological ignorance and constitutional ignorance.