Research, Essays, Commentaries – Inspired by the Social-Cultural-Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo (PLUS a bit of photography too!)
We at Matriwords wish all our readers a very happy 2019. Last year saw sporadic activity on Matriwords, we hope to be more regular this year with monthly posts and photo-features.
We open 2019 with an excerpt from an article written by Beloo Mehra and published recently in the 2018 Annual Issue of Sri Aurobindo Action, West Bengal chapter. Here is an excerpt from the article titled “God Seeking, the Indian Way,” which we believe might be of interest to our readers.
In our ordinary existence we are ignorant or unaware of our true nature, we are ignorant to the truth that in our innermost essence we all are portions of the Divine seeking a union with the Divine regardless of where we are born, where we live and the cultural heritage we inherit. The veils of our lower selves hide the spark of Divine within us, which is trying to reveal itself in and through all our life experiences.
A dedicated spiritual pursuit or sadhana helps gradually see through some of these veils of ignorance as we persistently and perseveringly nurture an inner aspiration toward the Divine. This in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga is referred to as the bringing forth of the psychic being.
Psychic being is not the same as what Indian tradition speaks of as the imperishable and immortal ātman. Psychic being is the evolving soul of the individual, the divine portion within each individual which evolves from life to life, growing by its experiences until it becomes a fully conscious being. From its place behind the heart-centre, the psychic being supports the mind, life and body, aiding their growth and development. The term “soul” is often used as a synonym for “psychic being”, but strictly speaking there is a distinction: the soul is the psychic essence, the psychic being is the soul-personality put forward and developed by the psychic essence to represent it in the evolution.
Because we all are multiple selves within us, all the conscious physical, vital-emotional and mental preparation and cultivation directly or indirectly help us grow into our knowledge of the self and is a preparation toward the cultivation and flowering of the psychic and of the spirit. As Sri Aurobindo explains, the psychic part in us “grows in the consciousness by Godward experience, gaining strength every time there is a higher movement in us, and, finally, by the accumulation of these deeper and higher movements there is developed a psychic individuality, — that which we call usually the psychic being. It is always this psychic being that is the real, though often the secret cause of man’s turning to the spiritual life and his greatest help in it. It is therefore that which we have to bring from behind to the front in the Yoga.” (CWSA, Vol. 28, p. 103)
Even though most of our formal educational experiences are focused around mind, because of our innate psychic and spiritual aspiration we are not content, we aspire for something beyond our minds, for something beyond the visible. Why are we not satisfied with the status quo, why are we progressively reaching out and digging within to the wider, deeper and higher dimensions and domains of the individual, the social, the universal and the eternal?
It is simply because aspiring toward the highest in us – call it Divine or perfection or by any other name – is the one aim of life that distinguishes us, the humans, from all other forms of life in the creation. And in that sense, spirituality lives in all of us, regardless of whether we are conscious of it or not; and around all of us, regardless of the outer physical context or our awareness of it.
Divine is beyond all the man-made or mind-made fabrications of “East” and “West”, it can’t be known by an intellectual synthesis or reconciliation of all that humans have philosophized. It can only be lived and experienced, and it requires a persistent will and constant aspiration – individual and collective. To quote from the Mother:
“Whatever difference there is between the West and the East in relation to spiritual life lies not in the inner being or nature, which is an invariable and constant thing, but in the mental habits, in the modes of outer expression and presentation which are the result of education and environment and other external conditions. All people, whether occidental or oriental, are alike in their deepest feelings; they are different in their way of thinking. Sincerity, for example, is a quality which is the same everywhere. Those who are sincere, to whichever nation they belong, are all sincere in the same way. Only the forms given to this sincerity vary. The mind works in different ways in different peoples, but the heart is the same everywhere; the heart is a much truer reality, and the differences belong to the superﬁcial parts. As soon as you go deep enough, you meet something that is one in all. All meet in the Divine. The sun is the symbol of the Divine in the physical nature. Clouds may modify its appearance, but when they are no longer there, you see it is the same sun always and everywhere. If you cannot feel one with somebody, it means you have not gone deep enough in your feeling.” (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 12)
For the full article, please contact the author via this blog.