Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 308

Psychic Transformation - I

And what is its distinctive experience? Just as the mind has a distinctive activity mainly of conceiving – to develop concept is a specific activity of the mind, to have a drive and energy, enthusiasm is a vital capacity, is the activity of the vital, a distinctive characteristic. To provide a stable base for anything is the activity of the body. Similarly what is the specific activity, experience of the soul? It is to experience the sweetness of Divine Presence. It is the specific experience of the soul, automatic, it has to make no effort at all to feel the sweetness of the Divine Presence. If the soul is really developed then this experience becomes automatic, ever present. Those four activities of which I spoke: wisdom, heroism, love which demands nothing and skills and this specific experience of the sweetness of the Presence of the Divine – actually in the Katha Upanisbad there is a word called madhvadaha, one who eats the honey – the soul is the eater of honey, that is its specific experience – when these activities flood our being, the mind, life and body are so surcharged, they vibrate with this constantly, then starts the process of transformation. Till this time there is only a question of conversion, first of change and then conversion but when these activities radiate and they flood the body, life and mind and tune everything in terms of the psychic consciousness and the mind, life and body is psychisized, in every nook and corner the presence of the soul is felt and experienced, then you have reached the state of psychic transformation. This is the first step of transformation. Transformation is threefold: the psychic transformation, the spiritual transformation and the supramental transformation.  What I have described so far is a very, very brief, very inadequate, very poor description of the psychic transformation.

Let us read a little now (page 891):

"At the beginning the soul in Nature, the psychic entity, whose unfolding is the first step towards a spiritual change, is an entirely veiled part of us, although it is that by which we exist and persist as individual beings in Nature. The other parts of our natural composition are not only mutable but perishable; but the psychic entity in us persists and is fundamentally the same always: it contains all essential possibilities of our manifestation but is not constituted by them; it is not limited by what it manifests, not contained by the incomplete forms of the manifestation, not tarnished by the imperfections and impurities, the defects and depravations of the surface being. It is an ever-pure flame of the divinity in things and nothing that comes to it, nothing that enters into our experience can pollute its purity or extinguish the flame. This spiritual stuff is immaculate and luminous and, because it is perfectly luminous, it is immediately, intimately, directly aware of truth of being and truth of nature; it is deeply conscious of truth and good and beauty because truth and good and beauty are akin to its own native character, forms of something that is inherent in its own substance. It is aware also of all that contradicts these things, of all that deviates from its own native character, of falsehood and evil and the ugly and the unseemly; but it does not become these things nor is it touched or changed by these opposites of itself which so powerfully affect its outer instrumentation of mind, life and body. For the soul, the permanent being in us, puts forth and uses mind, life and body as its instruments, undergoes the envelopment of their conditions, but it is other and greater than its members.

If the psychic entity had been from the beginning unveiled and known to its ministers, not a secluded King in a screened chamber, the human evolution would have been a rapid soul-outflowering, not the difficult, chequered and disfigured development it now is; but the veil is thick and we know not the secret Light within us, the light in the hidden crypt of the heart's innermost sanctuary. Intimations rise to our surface from the psyche, but our mind does not detect their source; it takes them for its own activities because, before even they come to the surface, they are clothed in mental substance: thus ignorant of their authority, it follows or does not follow them according to its bent or turn at the moment. If the mind obeys the urge of the vital ego, then there is little chance of the psyche at all controlling the nature or manifesting in us something of its secret spiritual stuff and native movement; or, if the mind is over-confident to act in its own smaller light, attached to its own judgment, will and action of knowledge, then also the soul will remain veiled and quiescent and wait for the mind's farther evolution. For the psychic part within is there to support the natural evolution, and the first natural evolution must be the development of body, life and mind, successively, and these must act each in its own kind or together in their ill-assorted partnership in order to grow and have experience and evolve. The soul gathers the essence of all our mental, vital and bodily experience and assimilates it for the farther evolution of our existence in Nature; but this action is occult and not obtruded on the surface. In the early material and vital stages of the evolution of being there is indeed no consciousness of soul; there are psychic activities, but the instrumentation, the form of these activities are vital and physical, – or mental when the mind is active. For even the mind, so long as it is primitive or is developed but still too external, does not recognise their deeper character. It is easy to regard ourselves as physical beings or beings of life or mental beings using life and body and to ignore the existence of the soul altogether: for the only definite idea that we have of the soul is of something that survives the death of our bodies; but what this is we do not know because even if we are conscious sometimes of its presence, we are not normally conscious of its distinct reality nor do we feel clearly its direct action in our nature.”