Centre of International Research in Human Unity (CIRHU) Auroville - Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Some basic principles of the University.

1) There are no teachers, there are only learners, students on the Path; those who came earlier or those who came later, the old-comers and newcomers, walking the Path of Knowledge ("the learning is what the learner does, it cannot be done to the learner" from progressive education of Vygotsky).

2) All the researchers, who are part of this University, working in different fields, themselves are becoming a field of research. In other words there will be no job opportunities here, nothing will be done here for the sake of maintaining one's livelihood or the suchlike, but for the sake of transformation of ones consciousness. There will be no professors of Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics, History, Art etc., but Philosophers, Psychologists, Linguists, Historians, Artists etc., who will share their discoveries with the researchers from the other fields. The knowledge and the process of research will become contagious, it will flame up in everyone as common aspiration and search for the Truth, which is to be realized within ourselves and then in the world.

3) The collaboration and sharing among researchers from different fields will become a common practice and a new mode of learning. Before it can be successfully achieved the fundamental deconstruction of all the major disciplines of the Humanities has to be accomplished; and their reconstruction for a greater synthesis in service of a higher consciousness is to take place.

4) Well structured and organized processes of inter-disciplinary studies will be based on a self-educational approach. It is in itself a field of research. It will start a new era in the history of humanity, a time of a conscious self-education, answering the demands of the approaching subjective age. It should be well formulated, and made available to all (websites, etc.). The learners will be self-motivated to learn how to think, to see, to speak, to hear, to live, to feel, to apply their will, to concentrate, to memorize, to be in the body, etc. etc.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

A) Studies of the faculties of consciousness: Seeing, Hearing, Thinking, Speaking, etc. (within different paradigms of knowledge like Vedic, Western, Semitic, Tibetan, etc.) should be a considerable part of this research.

B) Studies of the Humanities in a systematic way: Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Linguistics, Art and Science etc. in their essential qualities corresponding with our essential faculties of consciousness can become another fundamental research of this University.

C) Interdisciplinary studies formed in a special way reflecting the features, style and mode of a particular approach of mental consciousness, such as: philosophical, psychological, historical, linguistics, artistic and scientific, and the abilities to discriminate among them within one's own application of consciousness and to combine them within one approach, is a solid foundation for a higher education.

University Project

Adhidaiva Section of Education

The Aim
The aim of this project is to create a new educational environment for people who want to study the Humanities to educate and develop themselves. It may also serve young Aurovilians who, after graduating from Auroville schools, seek a higher education

The Method.
Its method is self-educational. It will map out for the student all the directions of human development and present their essentials and applications in the most coherent and comprehensive way. It will offer the programs for integral education in various fields of knowledge and skills as the complete course of the development of all the faculties of human consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The Research.

  1. Development of an integral studies paradigm that facilitates a comprehensive and universal self-knowledge and world-knowledge.
  2. Reconstruction of the major branches of Humanities. Classification of all study materials and introductory overview of their essentials and basics of human studies in the light of Sri Aurobindo and Mother.
  3. The overview of all available directions of research and studies within the subject. Make available all necessary materials for self education.
  4. The overview of related disciplines, techniques and methods of Self-education available in the world.
  5. Collecting and analyzing all available data and the methods of development of major cognitive capacities, related exercises, games, etc., for different age groups.
  6. Organising regular seminars and forums as well as open discussions.
  7. The discussions on different topics within the major fields of knowledge. For instance Psychology may suggest the topic of "Evolution of Consciousness", and other fields may participate in this forum from their own point of view, bringing out data of their own research on the topic.

The main principles of Adhidaiva education.
The main principles are presented in three major streams of cognition, through which we have access to reality according to Sri Aurobindo: Vision, Hearing, Touch, with their active counterparts: Thought, Word, Life respectively, as it is perceived in the old Vedantic texts.

Active Perceptive Self-Knowledge Thought Vision Word Hearing Spirit (Relation) ‒ Knowledge Manifestation ‒ Knowledge Life Body

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The first Level: Studies of the faculties of consciousness

The first level is related to the studies of our individual cognitive faculties of consciousness (including senses). Here we are going to learn how to Think, See, Speak, Listen, Feel, and Be in the body more perfectly. It is the most interesting part of research. The courses on "How to Think" and to be conscious in thought, "How to Speak" and to be conscious in Speech, "How to develop mental concentration", "How to develop audio memory" etc. etc., will be prepared and offered to all.
Senses are the instrumental part of perception of the faculties of consciousness. To see, for instance, through the sense-organ and to see, by using the cognitive faculty of consciousness, is not the same thing. To develop both: the instruments and the consciousness behind them is the aim of this level of studies.
The research in these fields will be constantly upgraded through the input of all researchers working in these fields from all over the world.

The second Level: the Studies of the Humanities

The cognitive faculties of our consciousness and the main subjects of the Humanities have natural corresponding characteristics in our cognition:

  1. Psychology deals with our subjective processes of thinking and feeling as such;
  2. Philosophy deals with our mental faculty to view objectively and to conceptualize;
  3. Linguistics deals with our subjective faculty of speech as such, how we subjectively relate to the world (communication skills);
  4. Sociology and History deal with a relationship as such: how the individual and collective relate to one another, on the scale of space (Sociology) or time (History);
  5. Art and Culture deal with the subjective refinement of our Life.
  6. Science of Nature deals with Matter in the objective way.

Subjective Objective Self- Knowledge Psychology Philosophy Relation- Knowledge Linguistics Sociology Language History Art Manifestation-Culture Knowledge Science

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Every key-subject can be combined with another one, giving a new discipline, for instance: Philosophy of Science, Psychology of Art, History of Philosophy, History of Linguistics, etc.
Each discipline can have at least six sub-divisions, which makes 36 disciplines. But even these can be multiplied by the same six, for instance: History of Psychology of Art; Philosophy of Language of Art; Language of Art of Nature; etc., which makes it more than hundreds of disciplines.

The map of major key-disciplines:

Psychology Philosophy Science History, Sociology Linguistics Language Art Culture Psychology Psychology Psychology Psychology Psychology of  History of Philosophy (of Society) Language (Cognition) Psychology Psychology of Science of Art (of Culture) Philosophy Philosophy of Philosophy Philosophy Psychology of History Philosophy of Science Philosophy of Art History, Sociology History of Psychology History of Philosophy of Language History of Language (Literature, Poetry) History of Science History of Art and Culture Language of Psychology Philosophy Language of History Language (Universal of Grammar) Science Language of Art Science of Nature Science of Psychology Science of Philosophy Science of History Science of Language Science of Art Culture Art of Psychology Art of Philosophy Art of History Art of Language Art of Science

These key-disciplines may include other disciplines in their fields, for instance History of Psychology could include:

  1. Mythology of Self-discovery (Vedic Mythology, Egyptian Myths, etc.);
  2. History of Occultism and Yoga;
  3. History of Religion; and the list is open for many more subjects.
Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The basic requirements to develop human consciousness on the level of adhidaiva education can be defined as follows:

1) Philosophy. Everyone should have a metaphysical picture of the world. It is a system of mental views and beliefs - a metaphysical paradigm. It includes a hidden hierarchy of understanding of what is first and what is next, what is important and what is less important, and how it constitutes one reality. Without this paradigm the reality cannot be approached in a rational manner.

2) Psychology. Everyone has to know oneself to a certain extent and to have a certain psychological attitude towards the world. This knowledge of oneself usually differs from one's metaphysical paradigm, though they are largely influencing each other. It is our psychological state that interacts with, correlates, corrects and even changes our mental picture of the world. Without it the reality cannot be approached in a truthful (sincere) manner.

3) Philology. To study and to relate to the world in general, one has to use language. To become conscious of one's speech (as an intention) and language (as a system of mental categories) and to know how they function is a way to avoid many possible misunderstandings in research as well as in communication. The mastery over language is necessary to build up a metaphysical paradigm in a more comprehensive and truer way. It helps us also to understand ourselves psychologically: how our thoughts and feelings are functioning related to our speech-faculty and how it influences them. Without this understanding no serious research is possible in either field of philosophy or psychology, and the reality (either subjectively or objectively) cannot be dealt with in a correct (precise) manner.

4) Sociology. One has to know one's roots: history, religion, social and cultural heredity: what state one belongs to, what nation, what community etc. One has to know one's own past in order to understand one's present and future, to be firmly grounded in one's own approach towards the future. This knowledge is wider than our own psychology or even philosophical paradigm. It introduces a knowledge about the relations between individuals and groups in time and space, beyond our reach. It draws our consciousness to a larger reality of community, country, earth, and finally to the universal and cosmic existence. It brings the aspect of the Spirit into the picture, - a larger reality within and without us. It indicates to us that there is a unifying phenomenon: the Space and Time in which we live, and which is common for all of us. Without this knowledge man will not be able to understand his growth and the purpose of his life.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

5) Art and Culture. Culture phenomena can be defined as a refinement of our Life in its aspect of Beauty, Harmony, Perfection. It is what the Spirit has already manifested in Life as a result of a long period of evolution. It is what makes us human and civilized. Without it we will be simply barbarians. It is the aim of creation and it is its path. To develop ourselves fully, individually and collectively, we have to learn to feel, to see, to understand and to manifest the Beauty and Harmony, to seek after it, to be it.

6) Science of Nature. Knowledge about matter is indispensable for the understanding of Manifestation. All the changes of thought, form and structure, whether philosophical, psychological, linguistic, social, cultural or scientific, are possible only in matter. Matter is a foundation and embodiment of any change. It is fixing everything to a certain stability, where the change can take place. If matter would not fix every change, the next step would have no meaning, for it would have no ground to manifest this new change.

An approach to systematise and to organise our knowledge into an integral knowledge, where all major cognitive functions and capacities of our consciousness will be exercised bringing about all the particularities, is the aim of this module of self -education. Identifying the source and nature of different studies with their cognitive faculties of consciousness from all possible perspectives, the scholars themselves in their consciousness become the body of research, the field of discovery. Self-education becomes the major method of integral research and knowledge.

The advantages of the Vedantic system of adhidaiva education.

1) The faculties of consciousness are properties of every individual; they do not reflect any cultural, national, philosophical, religious or social characteristics. Training and educating these faculties can be considered as universal education for all, leading eventually to the discovery of the innermost being.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

"...the thought of India has always maintained that a human being is a portion of the Divinity enwrapped in mind and body, a conscious manifestation in Nature of the universal self and spirit. Always she has distinguished and cultivated in him a mental, an intellectual, an ethical, dynamic and practical, an aesthetic and hedonistic, a vital and physical being, but all these have been seen as powers of a soul that manifests through them and grows with their growth, and yet they are not all the soul, because at the summit of its ascent it arises to something greater than them all, into a spiritual being, and it is in this that she has found the supreme manifestation of the soul of man and his ultimate divine manhood..." Sri Aurobindo, (SABCL, Vol.17, part 6, p.199)

"The central aim of Knowledge is the recovery of the Self, of our true self- existence" (The Synthesis of Yoga, p.335)

2) Being properties of individual consciousness, the faculties can be easily and with interest studied by all, for it becomes a study of oneself (a note: the EU commission's report recommended the development of increasing individual knowledge as the only future possibility of social development in the multi- national and multi-cultural environment).

3) It introduces all the Humanities, all fields of objective knowledge, into the subjective studies of individual consciousness. It brings the disciplines of the Humanities, which at present exist in themselves, as it were, closer to the individual self-studies. It is as if the Humanities are not being studied as such but the consciousness of the individual through the Humanities, which makes all the subjects a means to know oneself, and therefore they become interesting.

"Those systems of education which start from an insufficient knowledge of man, think they have provided a satisfactory foundation when they have supplied the student with a large or well-selected mass of information on the various subjects which comprise the best part of human culture at the time. The school gives the materials, it is for the student to use them,- this is the formula. But the error here is fundamental. Information cannot be the foundation of intelligence, it can only be part of the material out of which the knower builds knowledge, the starting-point, the nucleus of fresh discovery and enlarged creation. An education that confines itself to imparting knowledge, is no education." (Sri Aurobindo, (SABCL, Vol.17, part 6, p.331)

4) It also introduces Spirituality in the most concrete way, making it less abstract, imaginative and therefore altogether a doubtful exercise, but a concrete experience of every moment of our life.

"An integral education which could, with some variations, be adapted to all the nations of the world, must bring back the legitimate authority of the Spirit over a matter fully developed and utilised." The Mother, (1965 in reference to the Education Commission, quoted in India and Her Destiny, p.18)

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

University Project

Adhyatma Section of Education

The Aim.
The aim of this section of the project is to provide study materials and to create educational methods and environment which may be conducive and lead aspirants to the discovery of their Psychic being and their higher Self. We can call it the Studies of Consciousness.

The methods and research.
The methods are to be developed as self-educational and interactive, involving all activities of man in the discovery of himself, by doing Karma-Yoga. Learning about the psychic qualities of the Mother's Symbol in their application to everyday life and activities; observing and contemplating the actions of the Supramental Sense and Mind in their fourfold movement of Samjnana-Ajnana-Vijnana-Prajnana, described by Sri Aurobindo, are some of the fundamentals of the Greater Psychology of the future. Conducting research in all available meditative and spiritual practices in the world in order to recognize their practical value for the future development of human consciousness.

The main principles of Adhyatma Education.

  1. The main principles of Psychic Education are expressed in the twelve psychic qualities of Sincerity, Humility, Gratitude, Perseverance, Aspiration, Receptivity, Progress, Courage, Goodness, Generosity, Equality and Peace.
  2. The Studies of Spiritual Consciousness can be undertaken through the studies of meditation undertaken in various techniques and traditions, and awakening of higher realms of Consciousness.
  3. The Studies of "The Synthesis of Yoga" and other writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother related to the topic of the discovery of the Self and the Psychic being; organizing workshops related to those studies.
Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The studies of the qualities of Psychic Being
(A brief overview)

The studies of the qualities of Psychic Being

Sincerity, Satyam

Simple sincerity: the beginning of all progress.

An uncompromising sincerity is the surest way to spiritual achievement.
Do not pretend - Be.
Do not promise - Act.
Do not dream - Realise.

Do you know what perfect sincerity is?
Never to try to deceive oneself, never let any part of the being try to find out a way to convincing the others, never to explain favourably what one does in order to have an excuse for what one wants to do, never to close one's eyes when something is unpleasant, never to let anything pass, telling oneself, "This is not important, next time it will be better."

Oh, it is very difficult. Just try for one hour and you will see how very difficult it is.
Only one hours, to be totally, absolutely Sincere. To let nothing pass. That is, all one does, all one feels, all one thinks, all one wants, is exclusively the Divine.

"I want nothing but the Divine. I think of nothing but the Divine. I do nothing but what will lead me to the Divine. I love nothing but the Divine."

Humility, Nati

True humility consists in knowing that the Supreme Consciousness, the Supreme Will alone exists, and that the I is not.

To be humble means for the mind, the vital and the body never to forget that without the Divine they know nothing, are nothing and can do nothing, without the Divine they are nothing but ignorance, chaos and impotence. The Divine alone is Truth, Life, Power, Love, Felicity. Therefore the mind the vital and the body must learn and feel, one and for all, that they are wholly incapable of understanding and judging the Divine, not only in his essence but also in his action and manifestation.

This is the only true humility, and with it come Quiet and Peace. This is also the surest shield against all hostile attack. Indeed, in the human being it is always the door of pride at which the Adversary knocks, for it is this door which opens to let him enter.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Gratitude, Bhakti

A loving recognition of the Grace received from the Divine. A humble recognition of all that the Divine has done and is doing for you.
The spontaneous feeling of obligation to the Divine, which makes you do your best to become less unworthy of what the Divine is doing for you.

The nobility of a being is measured by its capacity of Gratitude.

Perseverance, Dhriti

A persevering will surmounts all obstacles.

Perseverance — the decision to go to the very end.

Perseverance is patience in action.

What you are not able to do today, you will achieve tomorrow. Persevere and you shall conquer.
Persevere in your aspiration and effort, do not allow yourself to be discouraged by setbacks. This always happens in the beginning. But if you continue to fight without paying any attention to them, a day will come when the resistances give way and the difficulties vanish.
It is by persevering that one conquers difficulties, not by running away from them.
One who perseveres is sure to triumph. Victory goes to the most enduring.
Always do your best and the Lord will take care of the results.

Aspiration, Ishti

True aspiration is not a movement of the mind but of the psychic.
It is to the sincerity of your aspiration that the Love answers spontaneously.
Let your aspiration leap forward, pure and straight, towards the supreme consciousness which is all joy and all beatitude.
Beyond words, above thoughts, the flame of an intense aspiration must always burn, steady and bright.

Receptivity, Buddhi

It is with the widening of the consciousness and the one-pointedness of the aspiration that the receptivity increases.

Surely you are trying more or less consciously to draw the forces and divine love towards you. The method is bad. Give yourself without calculating and without expecting anything in return, and then you will become capable of receiving.

How can we know that we are receptive?
When we feel the urge to give and the joy of giving to the Divine's work, then we can be sure that we have become receptive.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Progress, Riddhi

Try to enjoy doing everything you do.
When you are interested in what you do, you enjoy doing it.
To be interested in what you do, you must try to do it better and better.
In progress lies true joy.

It is true that my force is always with him to help him to do his work; but my force is essentially a force for perfection, and to be able to allow it to work fully, one must have a constant will for progress in the work.

Open yourself more and more to the Divine's force and your work will progress steadily towards perfection.

Courage, Viryam, Shakti

Courage is a sign of the soul's nobility.
But courage must be calm and master of itself, generous and benevolent.
In true courage there is no impatience and no rashness.

Never mistake rashness for courage, nor indifference for patience.

A noblest courage is to recognise one's faults.
There is no greater courage than to be always truthful.
Have the courage to be completely frank with the Divine.

Goodness, Svasti

Indeed the good will hidden in all things reveals itself everywhere to the one who carries good will in his consciousness.

This is a constructive way of feeling which leads straight to the Future.

One should keep goodwill and love constantly in his heart and let them pour out upon all with tranquility and with equanimity.
Good will for all and good will from all is the basis of peace and harmony.
A tireless benevolence, clear-seeing and comprehensive, free from all personal reaction, is the best way to love God and serve Him upon earth. I mean a benevolence sincere and spontaneous in thought and speech and not a supposed benevolence in acts which is accompanied most often by a dreadful sense of condescending superiority serving chiefly as a platform for human vanity.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Generosity, Danam

The effect of the ego... is to shrivel the being. This is the cause of aging, it shrivels you up like a fading flower, it dries you up.... (There is) the difference between the two states, between the person, the individual personal being, turning towards the Lord, imploring Him to reveal His Will, and then this experience of becoming ─ by extending oneself, by opening, enlarging, merging into the creation ─ of becoming the Lord's Will, the Supreme Will.

Equanimity, Samam

Equanimity: immutable peace and calm.

Tolerance is only the first step towards wisdom. The need to tolerate indicates the presence of preferences. He who lives in the Divine Consciousness regards all things with a perfect equanimity.

In the deep peace of equanimity the love will grow to its full blossoming in a sense of pure and constant unity.

Peace, Shanti

The peace must be immense, the quietness deep and still, the calm unshakable, and the trust in the Divine ever-increasing.
It is by a quiet, strong and persistent peace that the true victories can be won.

It is only in tranquility and peace that one can know what is the best thing to do.
If you ask from within for peace, it will come.
There is no greater peace than that of a pure mind.

The vast peace and calm are there, ready for you to open to them and receive them.
Let the vast peace of the divine penetrate you entirely and initiate all your movements.
In peace and inner silence you will more and more become conscious of the constant Presence. It is in peace that knowledge and power are truly effective.
It is in the most complete peace, serenity and equality that all is the Divine even as the Divine is all.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The Studies of Consciousness

(Some notes, as an example of these studies)

Upanishads speak in the four terms, vijñāna

Vijñāna is the original comprehensive consciousness which holds an image of things at once in its essence, its totality and its parts and properties; it is the original, spontaneous, true and complete view of it which belongs properly to the supermind and of which mind has only a shadow in the highest operations of the comprehensive intellect.

Prajnana is the consciousness which holds an image of things before it as an object with which it has to enter into relations and to possess by apprehension and a combined analytic and synthetic cognition.

Sanjnana is the contact of consciousness with an image of things by which there is a sensible possession of it in its substance; if prajnana can be described as the outgoing of apprehensive consciousness to possess its object in conscious energy, to know it, sanjnana can be described as the inbringing movement of apprehensive consciousness which draws the object placed before it back to itself so as to possess it in conscious substance, to feel it.

Ajpana is the operation by which consciousness dwells on an image of things so as to hold, govern and possess it in power.
These four, therefore, are the basis of all conscious action.

As our human psychology is constituted, we begin with sanjnana, the sense of an object in its image; the apprehension of it in knowledge follows. Afterwards we try to arrive at the comprehension of it in knowledge and the possession of it in power. There are secret operations in us, in our subconscient and superconscient selves, which precede this action, but of these we are not aware in our surface being and therefore for us they do not exist. If we knew of them, our whole conscious functioning would be changed.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

The trend of knowledge leads more and more to the conclusion that not only are the properties of form, even the most obvious such as colour, light etc., merely operations of Force, but form itself is only an operation of Force. This Force again proves to be self-power of conscious-being* in a state of energy and activity. Practically, therefore, all form is only an operation of consciousness impressing itself with presentations of its own workings. We see colour because that is the presentation which consciousness makes to itself of one of its own operations; but colour is only an operation of Force working in the form of Light, and Light again is only a movement, that is to say an operation of Force. The question is what is essential to this operation of Force taking on itself the presentation of form? For it is this that must determine the working of Sanjnana or Sense on whatever plane it may operate.

Everything begins with vibration or movement, the original disturbance. If there is no movement of the conscious being, it can only know its own pure static existence. Without vibration or movement of being in consciousness there can be no act of knowledge and therefore no sense; without vibration or movement of being in force there can be no object of sense. Movement of conscious being as knowledge becoming sensible of itself as movement of force, in other words the knowledge separating itself from its own working to watch that and take it into itself again by feeling,— this is the basis of universal Sanjnana. This is true both of our internal and external operations.
I become anger by a vibration of conscious force acting as nervous emotion and I feel the anger that I have become by another movement of conscious force acting as light of knowledge. I am conscious of my body because I have myself become the body; that same force of conscious being which has made this form of itself, this presentation of its workings knows it in that form, in that presentation. I can know nothing except what I myself am; if I know others, it is because they also are myself, because myself has assumed these apparently alien presentations as well as that which is nearest to my own mental centre. All sensation, all action of sense is thus the same in essence whether external or internal, physical or psychical.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

This spiritual sense of things, secret and superconscient in us, alone gives their being, worth and reality to the psychical and physical sense; in themselves they have none. When we attain to it, these inferior operations are as it were taken up into it and the whole world and everything in it changes to us and takes on a different and a non- material value. That Master-consciousness in us senses our sensations of objects, sees our seeings, hears our hearings no longer for the benefit of the senses and their desires, but with the embrace of the self-existent Bliss which has no cause, beginning or end, eternal in its own immortality.

On Supramental Consciousness

If we suppose a supreme consciousness, master of the world, which really conducts behind the veil all the operations the mental gods attribute to themselves, it will be obvious that that consciousness will be the entire Knower and Lord. The basis of its action or government of the world will be the perfect, original and all- possessing vijnana and ajnana. It will comprehend all things in its energy of conscious knowledge, control all things in its energy of conscious power. These energies will be the spontaneous inherent action of its conscious being creative and possessive of the forms of the universe.

What part then will be left for the apprehensive consciousness and the sense? They will be not independent functions, but subordinate operations involved in the action of the comprehensive consciousness itself. In fact, all four there will be one rapid movement. If we had all these four acting in us with the unified rapidity with which the prajnana and sanjnana act, we should then have in our notation of Time some inadequate image of the unity of the supreme action of the supreme energy.
The supreme consciousness must not only comprehend and possess in its conscious being the images of things which it creates as its self-expression, but it must place them before it — always in its own being, not externally — and have a certain relation with them by the two terms of apprehensive consciousness. Otherwise the universe would not take the form that it has for us; for we only reflect in the terms of our organisation the movements of the supreme Energy. But by the very fact that the images of things are there held in front of an apprehending consciousness within the comprehending conscious being and not externalised as our individual mind externalises them, the supreme Mind and supreme Sense will be something quite different from our mentality and our forms of sensation. They will be terms of an entire knowledge and self-possession and not terms of an ignorance and limitation which strives to know and possess.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

A separative knowledge arises when the sense of differentiation overpowers the sense of identity; the self still cognises its identity with the object but pushes to its extreme the play of intimate separateness. At first there is not a sense of self and not-self, but only of self and other-self. A certain knowledge of identity and by identity is still there, but it tends to be first overstructured, then submerged, then so replaced by knowledge through interchange and contact that it figures as a secondary awareness, as if it were a result and no longer the cause of the mutual contact, the still pervasive and enveloping touch, the interpenetrating intimacy of the separate selves.
Finally, identity disappears behind the veil and there is the play of being with other beings, consciousness with other consciousness: an underlying identity is still there, but it is not experienced; its place is taken by a direct seizing and penetrating contact, intermingling, interchange.

"It is by this interaction that a more or less intimate knowledge, mutual awareness or awareness of the object remains possible. There is no feeling of self meeting self, but there is a mutuality; there is not yet an entire separateness, a complete otherness and ignorance. This is a diminished consciousness, but it retains some power of the original knowledge curtailed by division, by the loss of its primal and essential completeness, operating by division, effecting closeness but not oneness. The power of inclusion of the object in the consciousness, of an enveloping awareness and knowledge is there; but it is the inclusion of a now externalised existence which has to be made an element of our self by an attained or recovered knowledge, by a dwelling of consciousness upon the object, a concentration, a taking possession of it as part of the existence. The power of penetration is there, but it has no natural pervasiveness and does not lead to identity; it gathers what it can, takes what is thus acquired and carries the contents of the object of knowledge to the subject. There can still be a direct and penetrating contact of consciousness with consciousness creating a vivid and intimate knowledge, but it is confined to the points or to the extent of the contact.

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

There is still a direct sense, consciousness-sight, consciousness-feeling which can see and feel what is within the object as well as its outside and surface. There is still a mutual penetration and interchange between being and being, between consciousness and consciousness, waves of thought, of feeling, of energy of all kinds which may be a movement of sympathy and union or of opposition and struggle. There can be an attempt at unification by possession of others or through one's own acceptance of possession by other consciousness or other being; or there can be a push towards union by reciprocal inclusion, pervasion, mutual possession. Of all this action and interaction the knower by direct contact is aware and it is on this basis that he arranges his relations with the world around him. This is the origin of knowledge by direct contact of consciousness with its object, which is normal to our inner being but foreign or only imperfectly known to our surface nature."[1]

Some examples

Modern psychology has extended our knowledge and has admitted us to a truth which the ancients already knew but expressed in other language. We know now or we rediscover the truth that the conscious operation of mind is only a surface action. There is a much vaster and more potent subconscious mind which loses nothing of what the senses bring to it; it keeps all its wealth in an inexhaustible store of memory. The surface mind may pay no attention, still the subconscious mind attends, receives, treasures up with an infallible accuracy. The illiterate servant-girl hears daily her master reciting Hebrew in his study; the surface mind pays no attention to the unintelligible gibberish, but the subconscious mind hears, remembers and, when in an abnormal condition it comes up to the surface, reproduces those learned recitations with a portentous accuracy which the most correct and retentive scholar might envy. The man or mind has not heard because he did not attend; the greater man or mind within has heard because he always attends, or rather sub-tends, with an infinite capacity. So too a man put under an anaesthetic and operated upon has felt nothing; but release his subconscious mind by hypnosis and he will relate accurately every detail of the operation and its appropriate sufferings; for the stupor of the physical sense-organ could not prevent the larger mind within from observing and feeling.


[1] The Life Divine, p. 568

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

Similarly we know that a large part of our physical action is instinctive and directed not by the surface but by the subconscious mind. And we know now that it is a mind that acts and not merely an ignorant nervous reaction from the brute physical brain. The subconscious mind in the catering insect knows the anatomy of the victim it intends to immobilise and make food for its young and it directs the sting accordingly, as unerringly as the most skilful surgeon, provided the mere limited surface mind with its groping and faltering nervous action does not get in the way and falsify the inner knowledge or the inner will-force.

These examples point us to truths which western psychology, hampered by past ignorance posing as scientific orthodoxy, still ignores or refuses to acknowledge. The Upanishads declare that the Mind in us is infinite; it knows not only what has been seen but what has not been seen, not only what has been heard but what has not been heard, not only what has been discriminated by the thought but what has not been discriminated by the thought. Let us say, then, in the tongue of our modern knowledge that the surface man in us is limited by his physical experiences; he knows only what his nervous life in the body brings to his embodied mind; and even of those bringings he knows, he can retain and utilise only so much as his surface mind-sense attends to and consciously remembers, but there is a larger subliminal consciousness within him which is not thus limited. That consciousness senses what has not been sensed by the surface mind and its organs and knows what the surface mind has not learned by its acquisitive thought. That in the insect knows the anatomy its victim; that in the man outwardly insensible not only feels and remembers the action of the surgeon's knife, but knows the appropriate reactions of suffering which were in the physical body inhibited by the anaesthetic and therefore non-existent; that in the illiterate servant-girl heard and retained accurately the words of an unknown language and could, as Yogic experience knows, by a higher action of itself understand those superficially unintelligible sounds.

"To return to the Vedantic words we have been using, there is a vaster action of the Sanjnana which is not limited by the action of the physical sense-organs; it was this which sensed perfectly and made its own through the ear the words of the unknown language, through the touch the movements of the unfelt surgeon's knife, through the sense-mind or sixth sense the exact location of the centres of locomotion in the victim insect. There is also associated with it a corresponding vaster action of Prajnana, Ajnana and Vijnana not limited by the smaller apprehensive and comprehensive faculties of the external mind. It is this vaster Prajnana which perceived the proper relation of the words to each other, of the movement of the knife to the unfelt suffering of the nerves and of the successive relation in space of the articulations in the insect's body. Such perception was inherent in the right reproduction of the words, the right narration of the sufferings, the right successive action of the sting. The Ajnana or Knowledge-Will originating all these actions was also vaster, not limited by the faltering force that governs the operations directed by the surface mind. And although in these examples the action of the vaster Vijnana is not so apparent, yet it was evidently there working through them and ensuring their co-ordination."[1]

[1] Upanishads, p.148

Sri Aurobindo University of Human Unity

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