© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

The Human Development

The most important thing for an individual is to unify himself around his divine centre; in that way he becomes a true individual, master of himself and his destiny. Otherwise, he is a plaything of forces that toss him about like a piece of cork on a river. He goes where he does not want to go, he is made to do things he does not want to do, and finally he falls into a hole without having the strength to hold on. But if you are consciously organised, unified around the divine centre, ruled and directed by it, you are master of your destiny. That is worth the trouble of attempting.

The Mother, Collected Works of the Mother, Vol.5, p. 139



To rise into divine existence, force, light & bliss and recast in that mould all mundane existence is the supreme aspiration of religion & the complete practical aim of Yoga. The aim is to realise God in the universe, but it cannot be done without realising God transcendent of the Universe.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 102


In the management of his world the much that is undivine prevails easily over the little that is divine or they are inextricably mixed together. The ideal fails in practice, religion degenerates quickly into a settled sectarian fanaticism or formality, the triumphant good turns into an organised evil. The Christian doctrine of the fall, the Indian idea of the wandering of the Soul in a cosmic illusion or the sceptic affirmation of an inconscient material Nature producing the freak of consciousness seems often to be the kernel of the whole matter.

And yet if we go deep enough into ourselves, we strike against something valid that proves to be a veiled divine element which affirms its immortality, Soul. If we go beyond our embodied mind and senses we break suddenly into something permanent that feels itself to be eternal and infinite, that cannot see itself as anything else and we also cannot conceive of it as anything else, an infinite Self, an eternal Spirit. Moreover in our most secret essence we are convinced of perfection or of perfectibility -- perfection in our deepest spiritual being, perfectibility in our nature; we have the instinct and intuition of the Divine.

Even to Time and Space our mind cannot fix or conceive a beginning or an end; it cannot conceive a first bound or a last, a primary or ultimate moment without at once looking beyond it. If we see the imperfection of things, the very idea implies a potentiality of a perfection by comparison with which they are imperfect, and this potentiality points to a beyond Mind and beyond Sense which is the integrally and permanently perfect. Every relative supposes an absolute.

For a long time we have been asked not to believe in these things, to put our trust only in the measuring rods of science and its calculations and crucibles, to accept only what is materially ascertainable and measurable. But these measurements are those of something that is limited -- how can we ascertain by it whether there is or is not the Illimitable? The instruments by which we question Nature in order to find out what is ascertainable have been proved to give only the results which are already contained in the question or in the questioner. Science gives us the measures and process of things within the physical limit, but it has failed [to] tell us what things are, their final origin or their reason of existence.

In all this questing by one end or the other we cannot get beyond ourselves and it is better then to look into the inner side of ourselves, -- why should we limit ourselves only to our responses to an outer evidence? Let us explore ourselves and not only our sense or perception of what is around us. And in ourselves let us look not only at our surfaces but at the inner and the inmost of our being and nature.

This self-knowledge pursued far enough shows us a deeper than the surface mind and a deeper than the physical sense, a profounder than the outward life. It shows us also a Beyond-Mind and Beyond-Sense, a Beyond-Life; the limited passes into [the] illimitable.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, pp. 180-81


By transformation I do not mean some change of the nature -- I do not mean, for instance, sainthood or ethical perfection or yogic siddhis (like the Tantrik's) or a transcendental (cinmaya) body. I use transformation in a special sense, a change of consciousness radical and complete and of a certain specific kind which is so conceived as to bring about a strong and assured step forward in the spiritual evolution of the being of a greater and higher kind and of a larger sweep and completeness than what took place when a mentalised being first appeared in a vital and material animal world. If anything short of that takes place or at least if a real beginning is not made on that basis, a fundamental progress towards this fulfilment, then my object is not accomplished. A partial realisation, something mixed and inconclusive, does not meet the demand I make on life and yoga.

Light of realisation is not the same thing as Descent. Realisation by itself does not necessarily transform the being as a whole; it may bring only an opening or heightening or widening of the consciousness at the top so as to realise something in the Purusha part without any radical change in the parts of Prakriti. One may have some light of realisation at the spiritual summit of the consciousness but the parts below remain what they were. I have seen any number of instances of that. There must be a descent of the light not merely into the mind or part of it but into all the being down to the physical and below before a real transformation can take place. A light in the mind may spiritualise or otherwise change the mind or part of it in one way or another, but it need not change the vital nature; a light in the vital may purify and enlarge the vital movements or else silence and immobilise the vital being, but leave the body and the physical consciousness as it was, or even leave it inert or shake its balance. And the descent of Light is not enough, it must be the descent of the whole higher consciousness, its Peace, Power, Knowledge, Love, Ananda. Moreover, the descent may be enough to liberate, but not to perfect, or it may be enough to make a great change in the inner being, while the outer remains an imperfect instrument, clumsy, sick or unexpressive. Finally, transformation effected by the sadhana cannot be complete unless it is a supramentalisation of the being. Psychicisation is not enough, it is only a beginning; spiritualisation and the descent of the higher consciousness is not enough, it is only a middle term; the ultimate achievement needs the action of the supramental Consciousness and Force. Something less than that may very well be considered enough by the individual, but it is not enough for the earth-consciousness to take the definitive stride forward it must take at one time or another.

Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, pp. 98-99


What I mean by the spiritual transformation is something dynamic (not merely liberation of the Self or realisation of the One which can very well be attained without any descent). It is a putting on of the spiritual consciousness, dynamic as well as static, in every part of the being down to the subconscient. That cannot be done by the influence of the Self leaving the consciousness fundamentally as it is with only purification, enlightenment of the mind and heart and quiescence of the vital. It means a bringing down of the Divine Consciousness static and dynamic into all these parts and the entire replacement of the present consciousness by that. This we find unveiled and unmixed above mind, life and body. It is a matter of the undeniable experience of many that this can descend and it is my experience that nothing short of its full descent can thoroughly remove the veil and mixture and effect the full spiritual transformation. No metaphysical or logical reasoning in the void as to what the Atman "must'' do or can do or needs or needs not to do is relevant here or of any value. I may add that transformation is not the central object of other paths as it is of this yoga -- only so much purification and change is demanded by them as will lead to liberation and the beyond-life. The influence of the Atman can no doubt do that -- a full descent of a new consciousness into the whole nature from top to bottom to transform life here is not needed at all for the spiritual escape from life.

Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, pp. 115-16


Sweet Mother, how can we create "the attunement of the nature with the working of the Divine Light and Power"?

How can you do it? By trying.

First you must be conscious of the kind of attunement you want to realise. You must become aware of the points where this harmony does not exist; you must feel them and understand the contradiction between the inner consciousness and certain outer movements. You must become conscious of this first, and once you are conscious of it, you try to adapt the outer action, outer movements to the inner ideal. But first of all you must become aware of the disharmony. For there are many people who think that everything is going well; and if they are told, "No, your outer nature is in contradiction with your inner aspiration", they protest. They are not aware. Therefore, the first step is to become aware, to become conscious of what is not in tune.

To begin with, most people will say, "What is this inner consciousness you are telling me about? I don't know it!" So, obviously, they cannot establish any harmony if they are not even conscious of something within which is higher than their ordinary consciousness. This means that many preparatory stages are needed, preparatory states of awareness, before being ready for this harmonisation.

You must first of all know what the inner aim of the being is, the aspiration, the descending force, what receives it--everything must become conscious. And then, afterwards, you must look at the outer movements in the light of this inner consciousness and see what is in tune and what is not. And then, when you have seen what does not harmonise, you must gather the will and aspiration to change it and begin with the easiest part. You should not begin with the most difficult thing, you should begin with the easiest, the one you understand best, most easily, the disharmony which seems most evident to you. Then from there, gradually, you will go to the more difficult and more central things.

The Mother, Collected Works of the Mother, Vol.7, pp. 1-2