WRITINGS BY SRI AUROBINDO
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Sri Aurobindo on Consciousness
Consciousness is a fundamental thing, the fundamental thing in existence it is the energy, the motion, the movement of consciousness that creates the universe and all that is in it not only the macrocosm but the microcosm is nothing but consciousness arranging itself. For instance, when consciousness in its movement or rather a certain stress of movement forgets itself in the action it becomes an apparently unconscious” energy; when it forgets itself in the form it becomes the electron, the atom, the material object. In reality it is still consciousness that works in the energy and determines the form and the evolution of form. When it wants to liberate itself, slowly, evolutionarily, out of Matter, but still in the form, it emerges as life, as animal, as man and it can go on evolving itself still farther out of its involution and become something more than mere man.
-- Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, pp. 236-7.
Consciousness is usually identified with mind, but mental consciousness is only the human range which no more exhausts all the possible ranges of consciousness than human sight exhausts all the gradations of colour or human hearing all the gradations of sound for there is much above or below that is to man invisible and inaudible. So there are ranges of consciousness above and below the human range, with which the normal human [consciousness] has no contact and they seem to it unconscious....
-- Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p.233.
Our physical organism no more causes or explains thought and consciousness than the construction of an engine causes or explains the motive-power of steam or electricity. The force is anterior, not the physical instrument.
-- Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 86.
Consciousness is not only power of awareness of self and things, it is or has also a dynamic and creative energy. It can determine its own reactions or abstain from reactions; it can not only answer to forces, but create or put out from itself forces. Consciousness is Chit but also Chit Shakti, awareness but also conscious force.
-- Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p. 234
We mean [by planes of consciousness, planes of existence] a general settled poise or world of relations between Purusha and Prakriti, between the Soul and Nature. For anything that we can call world is and can be nothing else than the working out of a general relation which a universal existence has created or established between itself, or let us say its eternal fact or potentiality and the powers of its becoming. That existence in its relations with and its experience of the becoming is what we call soul or Purusha, individual soul in the individual, universal soul in the cosmos; the principle and the powers of the becoming are what we call Nature or Prakriti.
--Sri Aurobindo The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 429
... the knowledge we have to arrive at is not truth of the intellect; it is not right belief, right opinions, right information about oneself and things, that is only the surface mind's idea of knowledge. To arrive at some mental conception about God and ourselves and the world is an object good for the intellect but not large enough for the Spirit; it will not make us the conscious sons of Infinity. Ancient Indian thought meant by knowledge a consciousness which possesses the highest Truth in a direct perception and in self-experience; to become, to be the Highest that we know is the sign that we really have the knowledge..... For the individual to arrive at the divine universality and supreme infinity, live in it, possess it, to be, know, feel and express that one in all his being, consciousness, energy, delight of being is what the ancient seers of the Veda meant by the Knowledge.
-- Sri Aurobindo The Life Divine, pp. 685-6 .