© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

12 October 1955

To tell you the truth, not very much is asked for life at the moment: just a little--what I call little things. It is obvious, [new p. 325]yes... you see, if you were asked not to live completely like an animal... not completely, because not to live even partially is at present difficult... however, not to live completely like an animal, that is a change in life. But it doesn't go further than that. You are not asked to live like ethereal spirits; for the moment we go gently, progressively.

But this animality...

No, excuse me! You mean that one thinks that he can bring along his animality into the new consciousness?

No, but until it is ready...

But things are not as sharply cut as that. For the animality to disappear completely, the form must be totally transformed. As long as the body-functioning, for instance, remains what it is, well, we shall participate more than enough in the animality, you see; and this indeed can only disappear when, ah well, we no longer have a heart, lungs, a stomach, and all the rest. We say that this will come much later.

In fact, the only thing which is very important for the moment is the change of consciousness. And don't think that this is so easy. If you observe yourself attentively, you will perceive that you think, feel, experience and construct like a human animal, that is, like an infrarational being who is three-fourths subconscious, through almost the whole of your day. It is possible that at certain moments you escape from this; but you still need an effort to escape from it. It may happen spontaneously, as by grace, at certain moments; but most of the time you have to [old p. 330]make an effort to be able to catch something which is not purely this. At any time whatever of your day, if you take just a small step backwards and observe yourself, you will catch yourself, you will see that. When is it that... suddenly, you see, if I said all of a sudden, here, now, "Look at yourself!" like that, without [new p. 326]warning you beforehand, what was it, there in the field of your consciousness? If you catch that, you will see; certainly at least ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it is the animal that's there; an animal which is a little improved, you know, not altogether a dog, not altogether a monkey, but still not very far from that.

There are many things which men have transformed into marvellous virtues, which I have found in animals as spontaneous movements--and they at least have the advantage of not being proud and not having any vanity. They did things spontaneously which, surely, were very remarkable--very remarkable in devotion, abnegation, foresight, educative sense. They did them spontaneously and without writing books on them and boasting about them as something marvellous. Therefore much is needed to come out of the animal, much more than one would think.