© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

29 January 1958

"Even in the Inconscient there seems to be at least an urge of inherent necessity producing the evolution of forms and in the forms a developing Consciousness, and it may well be held that this urge is the evolutionary will of a secret Conscious-Being and its push of progressive manifestation the evidence of an innate intention in the evolution.... Truth of Being inevitably fulfilling itself would be the fundamental fact of the evolution, but Will and its purpose must be there as part of the instrumentation, as an element in the operative principle."

The Life Divine, p. 834

Sweet Mother, I did not understand the last part of the sentence.

What don't you understand? He says that evolution is the result of the inevitable fulfilment of the Truth of Being which is the essential reality of the universe. The fulfilment of this Truth, the fulfilment of the Truth of Being, is the fundamental fact of evolution, that is, it is the cause and principle of the evolution; but naturally, if this Truth of Being is inevitably fulfilled, it must be by means of a will and a purpose. There has to be an aim and the will to fulfil that aim.

To fulfil itself this truth must contain a will to fulfilment and an aim, a purpose, a project it wants to fulfil. In order to accomplish something, one must have the will to do it, and to have the will to do it, one must know what one wants to do. If one doesn't know what one wants to do, one can't do it. First one must know, have a plan, a purpose, a programme if you like; one must know what one wants to do, and then one must will to do it, and then one can do it.

You see, he says: the universe is the evolutionary fulfilment of the truth of the universal Being. The deploying of the universe is the progressive, evolutionary fulfilment of the truth of the universal Being, but for this truth to be fulfilled it must necessarily contain a plan, that is, it must know what it wants to do and must have the will to do it.

When you do something you know what you want to do, don't you? And then you will to do it, otherwise you couldn't. But it is the same thing, this is what he says.

It must necessarily be admitted that there is a plan in the universe, that it is not something that comes about by chance, and that there is a Will to fulfil this plan, otherwise nothing could happen. You see, Sri Aurobindo contradicts those who say that the universe has no plan and no will. But the minute we admit that there is a consciousness--a conscious existence--behind the universe, we admit at the same time, automatically, that there is a plan in this universe and a will to fulfil this plan. That is all he says. It is simple, isn't it?

You only have to reduce this to the individual scale. When someone is conscious and does something consciously, he necessarily does it knowing what he wants to do, with a plan. For instance, when you prepare a programme for the anniversary of your "boarding", you have a purpose, don't you?--you want to make a programme for the anniversary, and so you have a plan, you choose what you are going to enact and how it is going to be enacted, and at the same time you want to do it, otherwise you would not do it--so, Sri Aurobindo says just that. That is, that if the universe is a conscious entity, if there is a Consciousness which expresses itself, it necessarily expresses itself in accordance with a plan and with a will to express itself--it is quite simple.

Have you understood?... A little!

Don't you know this, that in order to do something one must know what one wants to do and then one must do it, have the will to do it? Even if you decide to walk from here to there, you must decide that you want to walk from here to there, and afterwards you must have the will to walk, otherwise you would not move. No?


Ah! it is nothing but that, it is as simple as that.


People usually do things so automatically and spontaneously, without watching themselves doing them, that if they were to ask themselves how it comes about, they would require some time before the process becomes conscious to them. You are so used to living that you don't even know how it happens. All the gestures and movements of life are made spontaneously, automatically, almost unconsciously, in a semi-conscious state, and one doesn't even realise this very simple fact that in order to do something, one must first know what one is going to do and then must want to do it. It is only when something goes wrong with one of these elements--for instance, the ability to make a plan in one's mind and the ability to carry out this plan--when these two begin to go wrong, one starts worrying about whether one's being is in good order. For example, if one morning on waking up in bed you did not know or remember that you had to get up, wash and dress, have your breakfast, do this and that, you would say to yourself, "Why, what's the matter? Something is wrong--I don't know what I ought to do any more; something must be out of order."

And if, later, knowing what you have to do--you must get up, go for your bath, dress--you know you have to do it but you can't do it: there is something, the stimulus of the will, which is no longer working, has no effect on the body; then once again you begin to feel anxious, you say, "Well, well, could I be ill by any chance?" [new p. 262][old p. 262]

Otherwise you are not even aware that the whole of life is like that. It seems quite natural to you, it is "like that". That means that you act in a way which is hardly semi-conscious; it is automatic, it is a kind of spontaneous habit and you don't watch what you are doing. And so, if you want to have some control over your movements, the first thing is to know what is happening.

And in fact, this perhaps is the reason why things don't always go well. For if they went according to a normal, usual rhythm, one would never be conscious of what one is doing; one would do it by habit, automatically, spontaneously, without thinking, and would not watch what one is doing, and so one would never be able to acquire self-mastery. It would be "something", a vague consciousness in the background expressing itself without your even watching what you are doing, and which would make you act; and then if there came along some strange or unknown current of force, it could make you do anything at all, without your even noticing the process by which it makes you act. And in fact that is what does happen.

It is only when one is fully conscious of the process, when one knows how life works, the movement of life and the process of life, that one can begin to have control; otherwise at first one doesn't even think at all of having any control; but if unpleasant things occur, if, for instance, you do something which has unfortunate consequences and you tell yourself, "Oh! But I should stop doing that", then, at that moment, you realise that there is a whole technique of "how to live" which is necessary to be able to control your life! Otherwise one is a kind of more or less coordinated medley of actions and reactions, of movements and impulses, and one doesn't know at all how things happen. This is what is developed in the being by shocks, frictions, all the apparent disorders of life, and what forms the consciousness in very small children. A small child is altogether unconscious, and only gradually, very gradually, does he begin to grow aware of things. But unless they take special care, people [old p. 263]live almost [new p. 263]their whole life without even knowing how they do it! They are not aware of it.

So anything at all can happen.

But that is the very first little step towards becoming conscious of oneself in the material world.

You have vague thoughts and feelings, don't you, which develop more or less logically in the being--rather less than more--then you have a faint impression of that; and again, when you get burnt, you realise that something is wrong, when you fall and hurt yourself, you realise that something is wrong: it begins to make you reflect that you must pay attention to this and that, so as not to fall, not to burn yourself, not to cut yourself.... It dawns on you gradually with external experience, external contacts. But otherwise one is a half-conscious mass which moves without even knowing why or how.

This is the very small beginning of the emergence from the primary state of unconsciousness.


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