"Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow "

February 2006

Volume VII      Issue I

V. Madhusudan Reddy
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow

Ananda Reddy
Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow - Its Genesis and The Mother's Grace


Integral Education in the Present World

A Selection of Essays Submitted to `The Orientation Programme'

Rahul Sridhar
Equality in Integral Yoga


Emilya Dunayets
Maya as a Spiritual Experience


Vladimir Nemchin
The Evolution of Human Consciousness in Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy


Sanjay R. Desai
Sri Aurobindo Came upon Earth ...

A Selection of Essays Submitted to `The Academic Programme'

Kiruthika Ramanathan
Sri Aurobindo's Vision of the Future: The Vision of Unity


Lokaranjan Guha
Evolution of Future Man

An Essay Submitted to `The Advanced Research Programme'

Martha Orton
Passive and Active Aspects of the Path of Knowledge

A Peep into the Online Classroom
Evaluation of the Orientation Programme by a Few Students
Annual Reports


(as envisioned by its founder)

V. Madhusudan Reddy

Since the beginnings of civilization, the problem of human unity and human perfectibility has been engaging the minds of thinking men. Today mankind is undergoing the deepest crisis of its long and eventful history caused by the serious disparity between man's limited mental and moral capacity and his enormous achievements in the structure of his external life including weapons of unparalleled destructive power. While science has put at man's disposal many potencies of the universal Force and has made the life of humanity materially one, the human mind has as yet nothing universal in its light of knowledge or its movements, no inner sense of power which could create in this physical drawing together of the human world a life-unity, a mental unity or a spiritual oneness.

Sensitive men all over the world are convinced that the process of evolution must bring about an ever-increasing unification and spiritualization of our life. The evolutionary push has already converted the animal man of the past into a largely mentalized humanity. The further evolution of the present type of humanity into a spiritualized humanity is the need of the race and surely the intention of Nature. It is only the full emergence of the soul, the full descent of the native light and power of the Spirit and the consequent transformation and uplifting of our insufficient mental and vital nature by a spiritual and supramental supernature that can effect this evolutionary miracle. Ultimately the essential nature of civilization must be spiritual. The political, economic and social dimensions are only its accompanying circumstances, and do not account for its endurance. Without this enduring spiritual basis civilization is bound to collapse. It is the spiritual basis of life that alone is capable of overcoming the meaninglessness that characterizes the predicament of the day.

Let us then awake in time to this anthem of the future and reconstitute our schools and colleges and make them help our children to march on the sunlit path to this supreme destiny. A re-evaluation of the education, as such, is of immediate necessity. In the general organization, intellectual, moral and spiritual values should find greater and increased expression rather than the exaggerated and overrated view of the pleasures and powers of mere physical life. A change of consciousness is therefore the sine qua non of true progress. Spirituality as such transcends the forms and methods of religion and creates its own living and progressively perfecting forms. Spiritual values being central and imperative must permeate and guide all the aspects of education.

Education is an endless self discovery, a process of self revelation, a creative search for truth in its numberless manifestations and the re-integration of personality in the light of such knowledge. A true and living education helps to bring out to full advantage all that is in the individual and enables him to enter into right relation with life and mind and soul of the people to which he belongs, and also with the great total of life, mind and soul of humanity of which he is a conscious and organic unity. Any educational institution worth its name should have the double objective of preparing its students for an inner change, as well as work for the progressive unification of the race. The unity of the human race can be achieved through a creative synthesis of all cultures, through an organized collective of individuals from different regions of the earth. Science and technology have placed at the disposal of man the use of universal physical and material forces, making the life of humanity literally one. But who uses them? It is, in actuality, a little human individual or any communal ego with nothing universal in its comprehension or action. Science can bring only partial unity. But unity of whole life, perfect mutuality and harmony can be brought about only by a whole knowledge and whole power superior to reason.

It is to realize the twin ideals of human perfectibility and human fellowship that the `University of Tomorrow' has been founded at Hyderabad by a group of dedicated persons. Attracted by the ideal of human unity the group is now struggling to create a new instrument of educational environment capable of meeting the formidable demands of our age. We welcome the newly vocal and sensitive youth from all nationalities as allies in this great search for a better world and to live together on our campus at least for brief periods, with the special mission of discovering a new consciousness common and essential to all, yet high enough to satisfy and fulfill the aspirations of the coming generations.

The attempt in the campus will be to offer to the youth a new future, and new freedom and a new responsibility; also to help them to become conscious of the unique historical position and role which the youth occupies in the evolutionary history of man. It is our firm belief that the special restlessness which we find among the youth all over the world, the increased impatience which they feel with the hypocrisies of the past is symptomatic of something vaster and infinitely more profound. Simultaneously we note among them a searching honesty and also a sense of purpose that is bound to help in finding new solutions. We notice among the youth movements all over the world a new curve of progress, an altogether new humanism that as yet defies a clear-cut definition but which is bound to become progressively clearer and more precise as they learn to articulate for themselves, the causes of the unrest among themselves. Through open discussions, seminars, symposia and also through individual studies, the youth will be enabled to find answers to these questions. This is our basic approach and the full details of each course are chalked out in consultation with the participants themselves.

Tentatively, for your own guidance, we have prepared a list of subjects which among others include Education and Human Evolution, History and Human Heritage, Psychology of Cultural Synthesis, Modern Thought and the Present World Situation, Towards Human Unity, Vision of the Future, Human Destiny, Death and Physical Immortality, Theatre of the Future, World Drama, World Literature, Philosophy for a New Age, etc.

Yesterday is non-existent. Tomorrow is not yet; truly it is seeking to be born and increasingly manifest itself in the minds and hearts of the sensitive youth all over the world. A new light seems to break upon the earth, a new society is taking shape, … a new way of seeing, of understanding, and loving. Indeed, a global vision of the world beckons us all.

(An unpublished manuscript of Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy)



Ananda Reddy

Almost thirty five years back, in November 1971, my father Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy had dreamt of setting up a University, somewhere in Hyderabad, India. He wrote the following letter to the Mother on 10-5-1972 (only a part of the letter is presented here):

"Gracious Mother, since November 1971, I have been trying for the setting up of a Central University by the Government of India at Hyderabad named after Sri Aurobindo — truly a new University and a true University — a University without walls. And in this connection I made several representations to the concerned authorities in the Government both at the State level and in Delhi. Since about two months there is a growing feeling in me that without waiting for or asking the Government to set up such a University, the Institute itself should undertake this project and start it during the Centenary Year, especially in August. It will be a University project of the Institute with a separate governing body. Its chief aim would be to reorientate education in the light of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's Teachings, and provide guidelines for a truly national and international system of education. It will avoid the system of examinations and the awarding of Degrees, and shall try to evolve a system of education which will not be a system, but a dynamic movement, an endless expansion of knowledge. This world University centre, to start with, will have 3 Departments: -- (i) Human Unity, (ii) Theatre of the Future. (iii) Philosophy or The Quest for Truth. These will be more like movements rather than Departments. It will be a 3-year higher course comprising these three movements. The students will have a flexible curriculum and a free and creative environment of study and learning. This in my humble view will provide an effective alternative to the existing colonial and utilitarian system of education in the country which has had among others a dehumanising and deIndianising effect on the students.

If such a project is in the Mother's vision and a part of Her infinite work for the Earth I humbly pray for Her Gracious Approval and Blessings. If it meets with the Mother's Approval I have the following names to offer at Her Lotus Feet for this project.

(i) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: A World University Centre.
(ii) Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow.

I pray to the Mother to give a suitable name for this new international University project."

(Source: Ananda Reddy, Sachidananda Mohanty, editors, Essentials of Sri Aurobindo's Thought, Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad, 1997, pp. 354-355)

The then Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, P. Counouma, wrote a covering letter to Prof. Reddy stating (only a part of the letter is presented here):

"Your letter dated 10.5.72 has been placed before The Mother.

"The Mother has also approved the University project of the Institute. The name approved by The Mother is your second proposal; `Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow'; She has underlined and put Her blessing."

(Source: Ibid., p. 358)

Almost thirty years after these letters were written, I had a bright intuition of reviving this project that has the approval and blessings of the Mother. I know that one day or another the Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad, has to fulfil the work given to it by the Mother.

Instead of going the old way of a university—with its hierarchy of vice chancellor, registrars, professors, students, offices and departments and labs and libraries,—I thought that the University of Tomorrow must focus on the future ways for an endless expansion of knowledge. For that the present ongoing information technology could be the best instrument to disseminate spiritual knowledge, especially the vision and thought of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

So, the Institute of Human Study, registered the website on 24-02-2004: "www.the-university-of-tomorrow.net" (from 6-2-2006 the website is changed to www.theuniversityoftomorrow.org)

The university is at present running its third semester. The need of such an online teaching facility is felt more and more and students from different parts of the world are registering for its various courses. We have recently launched a Russian chapter of the University of Tomorrow and there is a great enthusiasm for it from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The University is at present outsourcing its courses to two universities in the USA—CIIS, California, and Antioch University McGregor, Ohio. There is a good possibility of affiliating soon SACAR with a university in Florida, USA.

We are also planning to start in the near future a Distance Education Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies (please see also p. 38) in order to facilitate those students who are eager to take our courses but are not able to afford the luxury of computers and internet, etc. Our efforts are to disseminate Sri Aurobindo's vision by all possible ways—`online' or `offline'!




`Integral' education is an expression that sounds good to everybody. It can easily be understood as a better, a more complete type of education, filling the existing gaps and developing a more complete human nature in mind, life and body. Everybody would easily agree on so generous and vague a programme, which seems to open new perspectives for personal development on one side and for increased productivity on the other side. Let us increase the mental and vital values in life; let us develop all our capacities to their maximum. Isn't this what human development is about? But Sri Aurobindo and the Mother add an essential dimension which changes the very paradigm of education and maybe of society itself: the discovery and emergence of the soul from behind the veil of human nature as the real self in man. How far can the modern world accept the sovereignty of this element?

In a way, any system of education has the function of integrating the individual in the society he has to live in, to shape him with its values and cultural patterns so that the individual can fit in. There must be a consonance between the society, its fundamental values and its system of education. Can modern society absorb the integral education as seen by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?

Present western civilisation owes a lot to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the thinker of the 18th century, who stated that man is good by nature but has been perverted by society. This thought has certainly been useful to get out of the pessimistic vision of Christianity and to create a faith in man and his possibilities but it has also been the cause of all the blunders of European idealism. For if man is essentially good and has only to be freed from oppression, there is no path for individual progress. If Rousseau had said, `there is something good in man and he has to make the effort to find it and becoming it', it would have been all right; but then he would have been a Hindu, not a European thinker. The equation `man human nature good' implies that the more we liberate and develop human nature, the more `good' there will be. But the experience shows that a soulless nature can only generalise the mentalised infra-rational nature in humanity. And we arrived at the present model of society, in which man is defined between the two poles of reason and life. A blossoming life organised by reason is the limit of its aspiration. Therefore, a reasonable hedonistic life in a rationally organised world allowing the individual to enjoy `integrally' his nature is its ultimate thought, and an intellectually refined rakshasa, his ultimate dream for man. To bring all humanity to this dream is its great democratic effort.

In education, the stress will then be more and more on developing to its maximum the instrumental nature of man, who is defined as a sum of capacities to be developed and used. The problem is that human being is then defined only as an instrument without a conscious user. So, finally, this instrumental nature without a master is put at the service of society, to increase its efficiency and creativity. Education nowadays aims at providing creatively competitive individuals for a creatively competitive society. It is understood that, being creative, the individual achieves itself in the process. If yoga or Zen meditation can be proven useful, they are welcome, but they should not disturb the arrangement. His submission to society does not appear to the individual because it is enacted by his own free will. He is invited to compete with all his self-achieving self-assertive capacities to win the right to go under the yoke, therefore he feels that he is achieving his own personal nature when his is just fighting to fit in, as required.

If there is no sovereign soul to respect and to serve, but only instrumental nature, we can only conceive of a world of happy instrumentalised instruments. For what we call human nature is not individual, but individualised movements of universal nature, prakriti. Mind, life and body are determined by many laws, there is no freedom there, there is no conscious being to be freed but only mechanisms that can be trained and manipulated. That is why the European dream of democracy has finally turned, with the progress of applied social sciences, into a huge machine of constant manipulation of human desires and thoughts. This has been labelled `Development' and offered to the world as the model to be followed.

The western culture cannot go beyond this because the idea of a real self different from the instrumental nature is not part of its culture, is unthought-of or unthinkable in its conceptual frame, and therefore it cannot be part of the world western culture can create, and it is not reasonable to expect it to do so. (But in evolution unreasonable things can also happen!) A new education, where the soul would be recognised as a central element, requires a new paradigm and a new society, where the aim of life would be redefined. There is not a society where the individual is given the right to compete creatively to fit in the economic machine and then be in a position to grab as much advantages as he can out of it, but a society where education as self-discovery and self-development has become the very aim of life and the raison d'être of society itself, where the natural capacities of man are understood as the projection, in the human nature, of the soul-force in terms of knowledge, force, harmony, perfection, where man is sacred not because of his clever mind, his gentle heart, his passionate life, his sensitive nerves and fragile miraculous body but because in him is a secret being that awaits his consent and conscious effort to be born and take the lead of the human adventure.

Now as soon as you take this aim in education, the whole existing system of training into professional qualifications starts collapsing, because how can you teach and train a soul in becoming? In fact the teacher feels very much being a student himself. How do you structure a soul? How do you measure its performances? What kind of diploma do you deliver? And finally the very idea of school also collapses. Because the soul is always there, it doesn't go to sleep when school time is over. It is life itself, which becomes the field of progress, giving the material and opportunities for our own education; then we can truly speak of all life becoming yoga and truly conceive of a society of `endless education and constant progress', as it is mentioned in the Auroville Charter. But then, modern society as it is organised becomes more and more irrelevant to the soul.

The recognition of the soul as a central element in human life implies a revolution because it changes not only education but economics and politics as well: if the aim of life is to learn and to become, then work is not anymore a means to get the money that gives access to desirable objects but the very field of progress and becoming, of karma yoga. The existing link between money, work and needs to be covered becomes irrelevant. And governance cannot be anymore the sovereign rule of a more or less transcendent authority deciding in the name of god, the party, the nation, or the people but a constant learning and experimental process. All the transcendent authorities become irrelevant. So to implement a soul education eventually leads to the remoulding of the whole society. Reciprocally, the implementing of a new education would require a new social context in which what is attempted is understood, believed in and actively supported.

And this would be only the beginning, the precondition for the human ascent to "a higher and truer life."



Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow offers four programmes of study as well as individual courses that may be taken independently of the formal programmes. The four programmes are:

1. Orientation Programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies,
2. Science of Living Programme,
3. Master's equivalent Academic Programme in Sri Aurobindo's Thought and
4. The Ph.D. equivalent Advanced Research Programme in Sri Aurobindo.

The semesters begin on February 2l and August 15 of each year. For the current semester, apply immedately. For full information regarding application, fees, syllabi, etc., log on to our website:


or contact:




A Selection of Essays Submitted to
the `Orientation Programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow


Rahul Sridhar

The objective of Integral Yoga is twofold: (a) enter into the Divine Consciousness by merging the separative ego into it and (b) bring down the supramental consciousness on earth to transform the society at large with the individual as the channel.

The implication of the process is that social upliftment is possible only when the individuals who compose it strive to uplift themselves at the spiritual level. The process and the effort have, therefore, to start with the individual.

A basic tenet of Integral Yoga is that the seeker need not abandon or ignore the material life to attain the spiritual goal. Rather, the goal of Integral Yoga is to integrate the material life with the spiritual life. The contrast is evident: on the one hand, the ordinary material life is characterised by fluxes, turmoils and disturbances; on the other hand, the spiritual life calls for the utmost calm, peace, composure and equality.

The spiritual union sets the tone for the seeker; he has to wear out and eliminate the disturbances that are rampant within him in his lower levels of ordinary material existence. Anger, greed, fear, desire and other such vices have to be wiped out. The spiritual upliftment demands that the seeker first harmonise himself both within and without. One of the steps or requisites of harmony is the cultivation of samata or equality.

Equality is defined by Sri Aurobindo as remaining unmoved within in all conditions. At this point a distinction may be made between forbearance and equality. Forbearance and endurance are developed and stretched by the cultivation of equality, but equality is something more: it implies an absence of desire and attachment. The ego-sense, however, may still be present.

The practice of equality begins with the cultivation of `acceptance'. This means the seeker accepts that whatever happens is because of the Divine Will. Even if the mind is not able to understand the occurrence, the seeker maintains this attitude. If need be, the seeker can accept the happening with resignation, even if he cannot gladly do so.

Not outward conditions themselves, but the reaction to outward conditions from within is what determines the spiritual progress of the individual. Therefore, there arises the need to develop an inner state that is not affected by the fluctuations or adversities of outer circumstances. It is only as one goes deeper into oneself that one can be stronger than the outside disturbances. Going and remaining inward is therefore important in the development of equality.

Equality implies seeing the Divine and acknowledging him in one Self, all things and all happenings. It is only on this basis that true worship and sacrifice is possible. In the initial stages, emotions such as hatred, dislike, scorn and repulsion may exist, but they drop away as one grows in equality. Even what must be destroyed is also looked upon as a temporary movement of the Eternal. The degree of manifestation of the Divine varies in different objects in the creation. A guiding principle for equality is to hate none and to see the One in all.

All events—good, bad or indifferent—shall be treated as the will of the Divine Master and shall be looked upon with the same equality of mind. The Divine manifests itself and those who have the inner eye alone can see it in all forces, things and creatures. The ripened soul accepts, seeks to understand and master, and labours towards perfection. Equality can be cultivated only through a patient self-discipline.

The growth into equality happens in three stages:

The first stage is a period of endurance. It trains the seeker to accept, face, bear, and conquer the rampant fluctuations and outward disturbances. The seeker develops a sustained sense of spiritual submission to the Divine Will.

The second stage is marked by the cultivation of a high-seated impartiality and indifference. It can also be called the philosophic period. The soul frees itself from the extremes of joy and depression. All forces, things, thoughts, feelings and sensations—one's own as well as those of others, are regarded in a detached fashion by the spirit. The Spirit remains undisturbed by these fluctuations.

The third stage promotes a greater divine equality of the perfected soul, an intense and even wideness and fullness of its being embracing all things. It brings a peace which deepens into bliss. The passage to the goal is through the joy of a total self-giving to the Divine and to the Universal Mother. This is the final stage whereby the spirit enters into the sea of the supreme ecstasy of the Eternal.

It should be noted that equality does not mean greyness of vision or the blotting out of all hues. It means that behind the variation, the seeker sees the complete and Immutable dwelling inside and accepts each particular manifestation as it is.

Situating the cultivation of equality in the larger context of Integral Yoga helps us to understand its importance. In the third stage in the development of equality that was discussed before, it was said that the Spirit transcends into the vast sea of supreme ecstasy of the Eternal. This process is smoothened if the seeker first annihilates the ego. He must renounce it. However, for some time, the ego of the worker may remain in him. This too must be eliminated in the long run.

Sri Aurobindo has stated that in eliminating the ego, the seeker does not hate the object to be destroyed. Although elimination of the ego is the sine qua non of equality, this is not possible if the base emotion of anger towards it is entertained. Cultivation of equality will reveal the ego to be a temporary movement of the Eternal. This will thus help to overcome and remove the ego much as a surgeon removes a harmful growth without endangering the life of the patient.

Cultivation of equality helps in elimination of the base emotions which currently block the seeker's progress into the higher reaches of consciousness. This process thereby helps in clearing the path for the movement of the higher consciousness to pour into the seeker, as well as for uplifting movement of the seeker towards the Divine and uniting with the downpour of the higher consciousness. All this is achievable in a smooth and pleasant manner by the cultivation of equality.

(Rahul Sridhar is an M.Com. from Chennai, India)


*  *  *

(an excerpt)

Emilya Dunayets

In the universe there is a constant relation of Oneness and Multiplicity. The Divine reveals Himself in various forms and names to the individual soul. These forms and names are created by the human consciousness.

The degrees of the Lord's self-manifestation in our universe of motion are expressed through the primordial power of Adyashakti which is ever at play. She is creating, preserving and destroying in play, as it were, creating multiple illusions in the process. If we examine closely the world around us we might discover millions of things which appear to be what they are not. For instance, modern atomic and subatomic physics reveal to us that concrete hardness of the material world is nothing else than illusion, because on the atomic level all things consist of emptiness, in which very small space is occupied by atoms. Atom itself is something like our planetary system with the sun in its centre and very small planets revolving around it, the planets themselves are situated very far from the sun and each other. Similarly, the nucleus in the centre of an atom is surrounded by the electrons which are disappearingly small and located very far from the nucleus. Another illusion is that the light of the most distant stars in our universe, though seems to belong to the stars which exist now, actually comes from them millions of years ago, since the star light had to travel for millions of light years in order to reach our planet. Many of these stars no longer exist. Play of light and shadow create multitudes of momentary illusions, which are most prominent in the water reflections, constantly changing, shows us forms and movements that do not exist. It is like a dancing flame of eternally creative consciousness and playful moods of the great Goddess Maya, which is never at rest, never stops to enjoy her creativity and tirelessly busy with perpetual manifestation of her infinite possibilities.

The universe is an endless masquerade:

For nothing here is utterly what it seems;

It is a dream-fact vision of a truth

Which but for the dream would not be wholly true, (SABCL, vol. 25, p. 24)

Emilya Dunayets is an English translator from Kiev, Ukraine)


*  *  *


Vladimir Nemchin

We live in the contemporary world of progress, science and freedom, times when man frees himself from heavy and immobilising chains of traditions and dogmas. After many revolutions man knows the taste of freedom from the huge machinery of the old society. In some parts of society we still can see lingering mechanism of an old order, but it cannot resist any more the new influences of the modern age. 

But even in the modern society man cannot find a deep sense of satisfaction and a real meaning of life. In the most developed states man attained material welfare, ethical and aesthetical culture but not a profound sense of reality. Man lives his life without gaining a deeper knowledge of the true purpose of his terrestrial existence. Some indispensable element is missing in the modern society where man has to deal with the superficial realities only, and this allows him to lead a very ordinary mechanical existence. 

The scientific theory of evolution bases itself only on the visible and outward phenomenon and formulates a physical life evolution only, totally neglecting the soul evolution and the fact that the true purpose of evolution is the self-evolution of consciousness. Sri Aurobindo says that man is only a transitory being and he has still "to evolve out of himself the fully conscious being, a divine manhood or a spiritual and supramental supermanhood which shall be the next product of the evolution." (The Life Divine, SABCL 19, p. 825) Till the coming of man, the evolutionary process has been a subconscient process of nature, but with the appearance of man the evolutionary process becomes in man a self-conscious, self-willed, conscious aspiration for self-perfection. All of the history of humanity with its many cultures and arts and philosophies prove this fact. There is in man an "aspiration to a spiritual mastery, to a spiritual perfection of the being, a divinization of the mind, the heart and the very body." (Ibid., p. 846) Till now there had been several lines of different approaches to a higher truth in man. They are religion, occultism, philosophy or spiritual thought and the truest of all was the one which tried to gain the inner knowledge through the spiritual experience which manifested itself mostly in the Indian yogis. Sri Aurobindo writes, "it is fundamentally an evolution of consciousness, that has been taking place in Nature, than man as he is cannot be the last term of that evolution: he is to imperfect as expression of the Spirit, mind itself a too limited form and instrumentation; mind is only a middle term of consciousness, the mental being can only be a transitional being … if his mind is capable of opening to what exceeds it, then there is no reason why man himself should not arrive at supermind and supermanhood or at least lend his mentality, life and body to an evolution of that greater term of the Spirit manifesting in Nature." (Ibid., p. 847)

So what Sri Aurobindo proposes to us is a new vision of life, new mode of being in which all parts of the human life attain their own place and find their deepest truth. Sri Aurobindo gives to us not a religion with some sort of rigid dogma and practice but the spiritual way. He says that the God lives within us and our only credo and dogma is the inner law of our being. We do not have any need in churches because the Divine is omnipresent, there are no priests because we have One Priest which is the Divine. What is important in spirituality is the inner experience of the Divine. Sri Aurobindo's philosophy describes the relation between man and the Divine Consciousness, saying to us that the very nature of man is the Divine, and that is an ultimate truth which we have to discover.

Experience of Sri Aurobindo is the same as of the ancient Rishis that "All is the Brahman." He deals with the true nature of matter which is the one with the spirit. Sri Aurobindo says, "perceiving behind their appearances the identity in essence of these two extreme terms of existence, we are able to say in the very language of those ancient writings, "Matter also is Brahman", and to give its full value to the vigorous figure by which the physical universe is described as the external body of the Divine Being." (Ibid., p. 6) So, Sri Aurobindo reunites essential truth of this world, taking from asceticism the spiritual element, which is missing in the European civilisation, and he secures its strong vitality, ever-inquiring reason and capacity to deal with physical reality which is missing in India. He says that they both are parts of one supreme truth—manifestation of the Divine in matter. Sri Aurobindo integrates the truth from asceticism, which sees static aspect of the Brahman, and dynamism of materialism which perceives the multiple manifestations of the dynamic aspect of the Brahman with his own vision of the essential consciousness in the matter and in the spirit which are two modes of being of the one entity. 

Sri Aurobindo's explanation of the processes of the universe describes two movements: the process of evolution and the process of involution. He says, "Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness … and mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind." (Ibid., p. 3) According to his vision of life and conception of the universe we see many successive stages in the development of the consciousness. We see that its way starts in the total inconscience and steadfastly leads through matter, life, mind to the higher stages. But if the main characteristic of consciousness is the possession of the truth, light and bliss, then how it can grow from the inconscient?

Sri Aurobindo tells us about the Divine which descended into inconscient in the beginning of the creation. It is the Divine who secretly dwells there and possesses the supreme Truth. According to this truth he leads the creation by the way towards the highest possible realisation. And finally, he reveals himself in what evolved from the inconscient.

Then we perceive that in inanimate matter already dwells, as a seed of future creation, the principles of life, mind, Supermind and the God himself makes the next step in the process of self-revelation. New stage, new creation goes through the certain stages. And as in an inanimate matter so in the animal we see God, who reveals himself through the principles of body and life, and through them he is preparing new stage, stage of mind, stage of homo sapiens.

As in the matter and in the animal, so in the man we perceive the Divine which prepares the next stage of self-revelation, the creation which will embody all of the highest aspirations of man, the superman, or as Sri Aurobindo says the supramental being and the supramental species on the earth. It is clear to us that it will embody truth, light, unity and immortality. In the man as in all precedent creations there are all seeds of future creation and all principles which nature developed before. But in the man nature gets unique possibility to overpass its own workings, her slow terrestrial movement of evolution by a conscious evolution, and to attain the perfection here and now. 

The man has an egoistic centre of being, because nature has developed this utility in him for action in the universe. We are born in this universe and subjected to its laws. We see that from his very birth man develops his instruments by living in the egoistic consciousness. He develops the body, the emotional being and the mind through the centre of all his life and this centre is ego. All his activities are turned to his enjoyment, development and self-affirmation  in the earthly life. But if we examine the activity of an ego in man, we will see that it pursues its own ignorant aims, making a man the superegoist, not the superman. In his consciousness the leading motives are power, dominance, self-exaltation and self-affirmation in the outer world, and there is a contradiction with the man's ancient aspiration toward unity, light, bliss, God, immortality which cannot be realised in the egoistic consciousness. Instead of unity we have division among people and everything in this world. Instead of light we have an obscurity of darkness, instead of immortality we have transient lives in egoistic consciousness, which tries to grab from this life all it possibly can.  

We become conscious about our being as a result of the long process of terrestrial evolution, but in our inner life and inner experiences we perceive the highest being, highest reality which exists and existed even before the beginning of the creation. We see that this world is full of different processes, actions, forces and happenings. Many of them act in the world manifesting themselves through the terrestrial powers, but if we look behind the life of appearances, we may see the other life, the others forces, which act silently but have always direct influence upon the terrestrial processes. And even more, we begin to live in this inner secret life unseen by the ordinary eye.

We see that ego was the helper in our life, but it became the bar. And for fulfilling our aspiration we have to discover something other than outer nature and the outer life with the ego as its centre. We cannot make final synthesis until we surpass our ignorance. Human mind is an instrument of ignorance. He cannot possess ultimate truth, mind can only search for the truth. It has to develop itself into the highest principle which will be able to live in the light of ultimate truth. It is the supramental consciousness where truth does not divide itself.

All of our intuitive knowledge insists on the possibility of the other way, and it is leading us inward to the very depths of our being where we find God, who secretly leads us all the time. We see yoga as the means to make a passage from human ignorant state to the Divine state of being. Sri Aurobindo says that our way and environment is the universal nature, the universal Mother; our aim is the Transcendent, Ishwara, Lord, supreme Soul, God; we are the individual, the unlimited consciousness, who marches by this terrestrial way to realise its own secret truth. Sri Aurobindo says that "the contact of the human and individual consciousness with the divine is the very essence of Yoga." (The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 27) We find the Divine reality which embodies all our aspirations to the light, bliss, unity and immortality. With this revelation we discover the two poles of being—the inward, where the centre is the psychic being, and the outward with life of ego. In the outward life we see mechanical evolution, which does not carry any other sense than the survival of species. And in the inward life we see the God, who realises himself through the universal Mother, Goddess Shakti. 

And we find ourselves between two poles of being: one is imperfect, crude, full of suffering; and the other is perfect, blissful, which is the Supreme. We become aware of nature, our universal Mother, which gave to us our birth. We are born from it and will fade in it with time. Living our life we become aware of grief and suffering, sorrow and pain in this world. We see that not only ourselves but all creations are subjected to this suffering, and that we are not able to free ourselves or the others from it. We become aware of the limitations of our body, mind, life, personality. 

And what we have to do with all these things? What must be our attitude to this outer world? Shall we abandon it or conquer? Indeed this is a very difficult question. And we see that many philosophical paths regard our terrestrial life as mere illusion. We see ancient Indian tradition of Sannyasa, which withdraws from this world and tries to cease in the Divine. We find that Buddhist's path also affirms the withdrawal from terrestrial life. All these paths lead the human soul to the Supreme and none of them is aimed to the terrestrial perfection. But Sri Aurobindo says that we must ascend to the Divine, but also we must bring this realisation to the earth. He says that we must realise that outer world is the manifestation of the Supreme Reality which we perceive in the inner experiences. Sri Aurobindo says that the yoga is a special combination of the different processes of the nature which hasten our evolution into the terms of single life and allows to realise this supreme aim.

According to Sri Aurobindo's vision we find that the transcendent is not the passive being to whom we aspire, but the Supreme Soul, which works towards its full self-manifestation in the universe, It is also seeking and helping the seeker who aspires to it. We see that universal nature is not only the environment, which supports us in our trials with the suitable material, but the Nature-Soul who seeks constantly through its creations to attain the transcendent and to realise its true nature. It is the Universal Mother whose aim is "to embrace the Divine in her own play and creations and there to realise It" (Ibid., p. 26) We find that we started our path much earlier than we became conscious of it. We find a secret being in ourselves which leads us. It is a soul, a spark of the Divine which dwells secretly in us and tends to reunite itself with its source in the universal play, "the Self conditioned in its experience by Nature and working through her formations, that attains to the Self unconditioned, free and transcendent." (Ibid.) We see that it is not what seemed to be the mechanical evolution but the Supreme Consciousness on its way of becoming in the terrestrial life. We start to see the Life Divine as the true meaning of earthly life and that the ancient aspirations of the man are true and their fulfilment is the aim of terrestrial evolution. 

That is why, we have to live here to realise the inner perfection in the outer forms, to make all parts of our being of the higher nature. Sri Aurobindo says that this transformation of our being is possible only by the supramental force. Giving our consent to the Divine Mother we have to let her to lead us through all stages of becoming to arrive at the final perfection and the ultimate aim of our creator.

According to the Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, "the affirmation of a divine life upon earth and an immortal sense in mortal existence" should be the ultimate preoccupation of human race. He says that we have "… to convert our twilit or obscure physical mentality into the plenary supramental illumination, to build peace and a self-existent bliss … to establish an infinite freedom in a world … to discover and realise the immortal life." (The Life Divine, SABCL 18, p. 2) Sri Aurobindo by his own example shows us the path to this realisation.

(Vladimir Nemchin is an English translator from Kiev, Ukraine)


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Sanjay R. Desai

Dear Sanjay,

Here is a `starter' to help you in writing your essay.

We have to look at Sri Aurobindo as a new force in action and not just as a utopian thinker-philospher or even a yogi of the ancient order. Beyond all these he is a living and dynamic force in action, shaking the sempiternal foundations of the mind and life and body. All his metaphysical explanations are only a rational support to the force and action that he represents.

He is NOT a radically new-age philospher—no! No! He is the force and the consciousness of the next future. He is a power destroying the old and bringing in a tempestuous manner the new, impatient to bring salvation to the whole of humanity. A dancing Nataraja is Sri Aurobindo, dancing a tandava dance of creation and destruction, driving the world to its destiny!

He is not retrieving anything from any ideological or moral or religious angle. He is a decree from the Supreme and mankind shall follow him in the ages to come. This is Sri Aurobindo in his essence. Rest is all explanation and justification for those short-sighted poor me. — Ananda Reddy

Sri Aurobindo … A nationalist? A politician? A Vedantic monk? A new-age guru? A mystic? Who is Sri Aurobindo? What is he to us? More importantly, why should we bother raising this issue in the first place? The lines that follow offer a modest attempt to decipher this amazing awesome maze.
In this brief utterance the Mother tells us: "Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to teach this truth to men. He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental consciousness, but with a possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-Consciousness, and capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious. During the whole of his life upon earth, Sri Aurobindo gave all his time to establish in himself this consciousness he called supramental, and to help those gathered around him to realise it."

Beyond Man

Sri Aurobindo is a movement, per se, of the fact that the time of religions, schisms, cults, abstract philosophies, breakthrough technologies, rich-poor divides is now long past. He says that humanity is not the last rung of terrestrial creation. Man is a transitional being. What Sri Aurobindo represents is a possibility for man equivalent to that of a fish being able to go beyond its water-world to soar amidst the blue skies. His works are not mere rhetoric but a wake-up call for mankind beaconing the urgent need to make a conscious choice between resigning to being a mental creature or awakening to its true urgent destiny of going beyond mind and acquiring the Truth-Consciousness to be the Supramental race. For the first time in the history of the earth, a species—our own human race—has been pushed to the brink where it will have to decide; do we want to surpass ourselves or do we wish nature to annihilate its best creation preferring another option. Sri Aurobindo is that opportunity which permits us to participate consciously and wilfully in our own transformation to a future state of being. Sri Aurobindo challenges us to an accelerated metamorphosis of transcending ourselves and being catapulted into supermanhood. Sri Aurobindo is the symbol of that involved entity within us which has to emerge in the Divine image. He is that milestone in the evolution of mankind which refuses to accept that we were created by nature to be mortal. He is that shakti who asserts that it can be done, it has to be done and it will be done—not in the ethereal heavens, but here on earth, in our very cells! In our current deplorable, self-destructive, cruel and ego-ridden state of existence, mankind has to realise that with or without its collaboration the story of evolution will certainly culminate in its scripted end. Sri Aurobindo is that force, which when assumed, makes us plunge into this inevitable, unprecedented, captivating, universal adventure of consciousness which will take us beyond man.

The Truth of Our Being

Sri Aurobindo is the key to the mystery of life. He is the revelation which tells us that each one of us possesses deep within this urge, this zeal, this thirst which returns again and again to bring forth a spark, a flame, a consciousness, a spirit whose aspiration is to melt into a more profound entity which transcends the earth and the universe. He is the torch-bearer of this truth. Each one of us carries within him this insatiable quest to unite with That which is beyond the stars, That which is beyond all creation, the Origin, the Supreme, the Divine. This truth is the law, the dharma of our incarnation in the human mould here on earth. Each individual being contains within it this direct and unique relation with the Transcendental Truth, and it is this unique relation that must be expressed through one's life. Sri Aurobindo says one is all alone in having this exclusive relation with the Divine. Sri Aurobindo is the obstinate reminder that rather than being blissfully ignorant of it, we must proactively live out this truth of our being. Contrary to science, his record of yoga is proof that ultimate truth is spiritual and subjective, and it is in this ultimate light that all objective phenomena be viewed. Sri Aurobindo's life on earth is not merely a chronology of events but a testimony of the decent of this truth, this extra-terrestrial force. He is that meteor streaking across the human skyline telling us that we do not really have a choice. It is the pursuit of this truth, or it is the abyss!

A Perfect Perfection

Sri Aurobindo is the sole thundering voice which announces that this terrestrial world has never been created to manifest imperfection, pain, suffering, and evil. Nor is God to be found by rejecting this world as a myth or maya. He is the promise of a life that is perfectly beautiful, harmonious, free, good, happy and a fully conscious one to be lived in. He is the golden bridge between the time-bound mortal world, which we have come to accept as a finality, and the luminous, spaceless, timeless eternal beyond awaiting us. In effect, it is he who has virtually spelt out the mechanics of how this utopian state of consciousness is actually involved in our very genes and the manifestation of the same in our material world ought to be our agenda. A divine life in a divine body is the ideal which he envisaged and realised. As long as we will continue to exist in a separative ego-consciousness, we—as a collectivity—will always be miserable. A drop of water thinking itself separate from the ocean can only go mad. Nor is an individual thinking only of its own personal spiritual salvation the solution. Sri Aurobindo is, therefore, that medium who struggled, suffered and endured selflessly to bring down that supra-terrestrial force which is inevitable for the transformation of entire humanity. It is he alone who declares that God—a supra-cosmic force—himself is the element behind us, upholding our fall into darkness, pervading all life, and its miseries. And it is also He who resides within us as that embedded ethical voice. If we somehow discover this secret divine portion within and allow it to blossom and operate through us as an agent of the Divine, this will be our gate to deliverance. Once we begin to live this divine presence, we will also realise that the truth of our being is incomplete without that of our neighbour's. We finally begin to see the One in all and the all in the One. Sri Aurobindo represents the advent of this greater supra-intellectual consciousness which unveils before us the supreme realities that lie concealed behind the anguish of the terrestrial world. He is the assurance that from the debris of human suffering shall emerge a new world full of light, bliss and peace!

A Pragmatic Shastra

Sri Aurobindo is not just another brand of mystic philosophy, nor is he an exercise in abstract critical thought. His life is the record of a discipline, a methodology, a science of exceeding Man's mental consciousness—contingent on a set of finite terrestrial senses—to realise the truth of his being and expanding it into a cosmic, universal, spiritual delight of existence. His yoga equips us with the roadmap to be followed to contact and bring down that force without which the ascension to superseding the mind cannot be effected. He delivers to us that formula, that mantra which otherwise the physical thinking mind cannot conceive of. His documented spiritual experiences reveal to us not only the presence of regions that lie beyond the mind but also how these can be journeyed to. He is the solid shining mirror of truth wherein we are compelled to ask: Do we truly know ourselves? Has man conquered all the domains of knowledge or are there other worlds yet to be explored? Sri Aurobindo provides us with the tools with which we proceed to pierce open our evolutionary consciousness further onto extra-terrestrial regions of a liberated intelligence. Sri Aurobindo could fashion these ideals for he did bring down and craft these higher gradations of consciousness here on earth in a physical body. And he did so to make them realisable to an aspiring humanity! His integral yoga is the blueprint made available for every individual to manifest his body's soul. His is a life taken to demonstrate that the supramental consciousness cannot only be attained but be brought down and be made a permanent part of the earth-consciousness to effect a divine transfiguration of the human race!

A Final Note

Above all, to me personally, Sri Aurobindo is the master of the Divine Game; an idealistic explosion reverberating through the cosmos; a volcanic prophecy beginning to erupt; an intellectual revolutionary tempest that knocks beyond the frontiers of human knowledge; a material envelope that defied the laws of death; a decree straight from the Divine! I end with this quote from the Mother: "What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme."

(Dr. Sanjay R. Desai from Vadodara, Gujarat, has a Doctorate in Management Studies)


A Selection of Essays submitted to
`The Academic Programme in Sri Aurobindo's Thought'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow

1. Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future:

The vision of unity

Kiruthika Ramanathan

The term vasudeva kutumbakham in Sanskrit refers to a condition when every being in the world acts as part of the family of the Lord, Vasudeva. Yet the world today is full of conflicts, major and minor. And this idea of unity seems far away. Days are punctured with news of racial riots, events of discriminations, terrorism … news that hints of spreading discord and separation in the name of religion, race and culture. This brings us to the following questions: Where exactly does the vision of human unity come in? Why does it look as if unity is in trouble these days? What level of unity are we looking at in the future and is this vision of unity so difficult to achieve?

The Vision of Human Unity: Many Faiths, One Goal

Let us look first at what Sri Aurobindo says about the reconciliation of differences in The Life Divine: "The knowledge of distinctions arrives at its greatest Truth and effective use when we arrive at the deeper knowledge of that which reconciles distinctions in the unity behind all variations" (The Life Divine, SABCL 18, p. 381). By this statement Sri Aurobindo clarifies two points: firstly, there is a unity behind the variations that are present in this world; secondly, the presence of a knowledge of distinctions means that this unity can be achieved if and when we arrive at a deeper knowledge.

The idea vision of human unity is one that arises out of a deeper knowledge. Swami Krishnananda of the Divine Life Society puts it in his discourses on the Bhagavad gita. "As long as the conflict between God and man is not solved, no other conflict can be solved. The root of the trouble is the separation of the individual from the Supreme Being." The absolute unity is one that has to be achieved through, and only through union with the divine being.

This view of spiritual growth being the key to unity is shared, not just by the Bhagavad Gita and by the works of Sri Aurobindo, but is something that can be seen across diverse scriptures, faiths and practices. The unity faith , a branch of Christianity, roots with the following precepts:

1. God is the source and creator of all and is omnipresent.
2. We are spiritual beings, created in God's image, with the spirit of God living in each person.
3. Knowledge of spiritual principles are not enough, one must live them.

Islam too roots unity in similar terms. In his book, Islam in Focus, the late Dr. Hammudah Abdul Atti pens, "… Human brotherhood in Islam is based on an unshakable belief in the oneness and universality of Allah … The Muslim believes that the unity of mankind with regard to the source of creation, the original parentage, and the final destiny. The source of creation is Allah himself … As for the final destiny, there is no doubt in the Muslim's mind that it will be to Allah, the creator, to whom all people shall return."

There is a clear similarity in these points of view. All the religions and faith go back to the same destination, an unity with the source, or the Divine. Human unity is therefore not one which comes from matter, but the spirit. The ideal goal of unity can therefore only be attained by what Sri Aurobindo describes as in `The Evolution of the Spiritual Man': "Spirit is a final evolutionary emergence because it is the original involutionary element and factor. Evolution is the inverse action of involution: what is ultimate and last derivation in the involution is the first to appear in the evolution, what was original and primal in the involution is the last and supreme emergence." (The Life Divine, SABCL 19, p. 853)

The spirit, the Allah, the God, whatever the name, is the source from which man has come forth. The spirit has been involved in matter and the goal is for the spirit to evolve from it. Most faiths agree on the above goal. So where do the discord and differences come from?

Trouble in Paradise: the Vital and the Mind

Interestingly, while we tend to view religion as a differentiating factor, the quotes in the first part of this essay show that religion is not differentiating, but integrating. The foundations of major religions, at least as far as unity is concerned state the same point. So there is no point in blaming religious discord to religion or race—we are climbing up the wrong tree and will not find the correct roots.

Religion or faith cannot be the bar to human unity. If this were so, then why do conflicts arise between people who follow the same religion? Why did the great Kurukshetra war arise in the Mahabharat? After all, the Kauravas and the Pandavas were of the same religion, the same race and the same family.

Kittu Reddy of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram said in a speech that the root of all problems related to human conflict and human unity is not that of race or religion, but one of ego and desire. While we observe conflicts between people of different races, or different religions, we also observe conflicts between people of different families, cousins, friends and even brothers, or spouses. Conflicts occur at varying levels, not because they are intentional, but because of what Sri Aurobindo puts as a conflict in standards: "the personal need and desire is primary, the social law comes in as a secondary and usurping power" (The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 183). There is therefore a conflict between the standard of a person and the standard of the society. The vital desires come ahead of the spiritual evolution, which is expected. After all, the vital has evolved more out of matter than the spirit has.

There is therefore the problem of the vital, which brings in ego and desire, bringing conflicts between personal needs and social needs. This problem can further be extended to conflicts between needs of a smaller society and needs of a larger society. However, the vital is not all there is to the problem.

Sri Aurobindo says, in several places, that the spiritual goal, the Divine, the attaining of which is the only lead to human unity, cannot, at this point of time, be grasped by the human being. This is because, despite his evolutionary success, man is still a mental being. He views the things around him with what he thinks in the highest in him—his mind. In fact, most of the time, he views the things around him with a combination of the mind and the vital, which complicates matters even more. " [The form for the Divine]'s necessity for the human soul is evident. God is All and more than All. But that which is more than All, how shall man conceive? And even the All is at first too hard for him …" (The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 58)

Therefore man views the Divine, the universe in bits and parts. A mental imaging of the God comes up, followed by the ego, which comes forth with ideas such as: "My God, my Incarnation, my Prophet, my Guru … All sectarianism ..." (The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, p. 59) So we see the root of the problem is not the idea of religion or the different kinds of faith, but a mental imaging that is warped by the ego into something sectarian.

Yet, the true yoga and evolution is not sectarian, but something that synthesises the all and finds the one in all. This is the evolution that leads to the ideal unity. Sri Aurobindo describes this synthesis as: "... the sadhaka of integral yoga will not be satisfied until he has included all other names and forms of Deity in his own conception, seen his own Ishta Devata in all others, unified all Avatars in the unity of Him who descends in the Avatar, welded the truth in all teachings into the harmony of the Eternal Wisdom." (The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20, pp. 59_60)

Levels of Unity

All around the world, attempts are being made to implement unity. For several practical reasons, it makes sense for people to be united than divided. Peace treaties are being signed, nobel prizes awarded for peace, conferences organised, but somehow nothing seems to work. Perhaps, once again, we are climbing up the wrong tree?

I refer once again to Swami Krishnananda who says: "We are trying to achieve external unity through institutions like the United Nations Organization, for instance. But broken pieces of glass cannot be put together by the use of even the best gum. You have to melt the pieces and recast them to make the glass whole once again, and this is what has to be done by these organisations. We do not, however, know the secret and hope to succeed merely by conferences, etc. The individuals have to be melted into the Absolute, and only then can there be real unity."

The imagery is a very vivid one. What is necessary is not a gluing of pieces, a superficial `understanding' of cultures, but a fundamental change in the nature of the being. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo says: "There can be no artificial escape from [the problem of evil and falsehood] … there can be no final solution until we have turned our inconscience into the greater consciousness, made the truth of self and spirit our life-basis and transformed our ignorance into a higher knowledg." (The Life Divine, SABCL 20, p. 627) Elsewhere he says, what is required is not a compromise.
A compromise may be imposed between the various demands, but it is not a solution. The use of a compromise is to salve over the difficulty and in the end increase the complexity of the problem and multiply the issues. What is a necessary and a sufficient condition for a solution is to call-in a new principle that is higher than the two conflicting instincts.

Any peace treaty will be a compromise, an agreement. Yet, it is not a final solution, which is why most treaties get broken by the next politician who takes the chair. This mental process by which pieces of glass are glued together is not going to result in unity. What is required is an integral transformation, the advent of a new principle.

Ending with a Positive Note

I read a story a few days ago about a baby hippopotamus which had lost its mother in the recent Tsunami. The hippo had adopted as its mother, the most unlikely companion, a tortoise. The story of the hippo and the tortoise has been broadcasted over the worldwide web as a surprising but true story.

As I read the story, I was fascinated, not by the unlikeliness of the relationship between the two animals, but by how these two animals have looked beyond their differences to what unites them, that they are both creations of the Divine. I do not know what the hippo saw in the tortoise or vice versa, but I would like to believe that they saw in each other the Divine residing in their souls, the Divine, who is their source and their destination.

(Kiruthika Ramanathan is doing her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Singapore)


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Lokaranjan Guha

The Double Process of Evolution

This terrestrial evolutionary working of nature from matter to mind and beyond it has a double process—first there is an outward visible (Darwinian) process of physical evolution with birth as its machinery and second there is, at the same time, an invisible process of the soul (spiritual) evolution with rebirth into ascending grades of form and consciousness as its machinery.

That indicates the central motive force behind this terrestrial existence (manifestation) is working through an in-built mechanism to put forth an evolution of consciousness into two modes of its expression—first, an evolution of forms; second, an evolution of spirit.

The Triple Nature of the Evolutionary Process

The process of evolution has a triple nature which may be called a first widening, second a heightening and third an integration. First of all it means a widening of the field, providing greater room for the operation of each principle (already involved in matter as life, mind and higher than mind principles) as it emerges. Secondly it means an ascent from grade to grade, from lower (plants, animals) to higher species (of man and higher than ordinary man) and finally it means taking up within itself (at reaching the highest grade—e.g., the man as the crescent of current evolution) all the previous lower grades and transforming them in turn.

This final stage of integration thus implies a further ascent through a corresponding descent—a descent of higher principle (e.g., higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind, Supermind, Sachchidananda) into all their lower ones (mind, vital, physical, subconscient and inconscient parts) and lifting them up, in turn, for accomplishing their transformation required for a subsequent ascent.

The Triple Phases of the Evolutionary Process

The staring-point of evolution is the inconscience and its pre-condition is the culmination of a preceding involution process. Its middle point is ignorance (which is the limited knowledge) and its terminal point is the full knowledge—the gnosis. This first basic principle is the matter. Evolution first takes place in matter—life evolved out of matter as plants and then second the basic mind and the vital got evolved out of live matter as animals and finally third the mind proper was evolved out of the sentient life as mental man. This conversely put may read as "Matter is a form of veiled life; a form of veiled mind." Here a pertinent question could be: "May not Mind be a form and veil of a higher conscious power (energy), which would be supramental in nature taking a further ascending step towards the higher principle, characterised by higher consciousness-spirit and the truth-knowledge?"

The answer to this may contain an emergence and in its final stage a process of integration as has been mentioned earlier. It will carry out a conversion of the inconscient parts in us into the conscient , spiritualising our material substance, planting the law of the gnostic (supramental) consciousness in the whole of our being and finally changing the mental into a supramental being.

Psychic Being: the Vehicle of Future Evolution

Nature, as per Sri Aurobindo, is following an ascending progression in order to manifest more and more the divine consciousness contained in all forms. So, with each form that it produces, nature makes a form capable of expressing more completely the spirit which this form contains. But if it were only like this, a form comes, develops, reaches its highest point and is followed by another form; the others do not appear, but the individual does not progress.

The individual, as a result, will not be able to progress any further as and when he/she becomes the best type of humanity. He actually belongs to the human species and he will continue to belong to it. So, from the point of view of terrestrial history there is a progress, for each species represents a progress compared with the preceding species; but from the point of view of the individual, there is no progress: he is born, he follows his development, dies and disappears.

Therefore, to ensure the progress of the individual, it was necessary to find another means; this was not adequate—Mother explains. But within the individual, contained in each form, there is an organisation of consciousness which is closer to and more directly under the influence of the inner divine presence, and the form which is under this influence—this kind of inner concentration of energy—has a life independent of the physical form, this is what we call psychic being or the soul.

The outer body falls away, and this remains throughout every experience that it has in each life, and there is a progress from life to life, and it is the progress of the same individual. And this movement complements the other, in the sense instead of a species which progresses relative to other species, it is an individual who passes through all the stages of progress of these species and can continue to progress even when the species have reached the limit of their possibilities and the species stay there or disappear depending on the case.

But they cannot go any further, whereas the individual having a life independent of the purely material form can pass from one form to another and continue his progress infinitely. That makes a double movement which completes itself. And that is why each individual has the possibility of reaching the highest realisation, independent of the form which he momentarily belongs.

The Current Evolutionary Crisis: Breaking into a New Ground

The present evolutionary crisis basically stems from a disparity between the limited faculties present in man (reason based rationale), the ethical (religious dogmas) demands placed on him and his growing need on spirituality and aspiration for a higher consciousness—subject to the limitations of the socio-economic systems and means at his disposal.

It is often claimed that reason is the highest faculty of man and that it has enabled him to master himself and to master nature. But evidence shows, in plenty, that the reason when applied to life and action becomes partial and passionate and the servant of other forces than the pure truth. Reason cannot arrive at any final truth because it can neither get to the root of things nor embrace totality—it merely deals with the finite, the separate and has no measure and provision for the integral and the infinite. So are the shortcomings of any religion if it cannot transcend the realm of reason and customs and superstitions, in grasping a fuller truth. Behind the ethical law (which is a false image or at best a shadow), there exists a greater truth of a vast consciousness without any fetters which unveils itself as the supreme law of our divine nature.

Social Evolution in a Chain Reaction

That supreme law of our divine nature (working beyond any realms of reason, ethical values and religious dogmas) determines perfectly our inter-personal relations with each being and the different objects of nature (both animate and inanimate) and with the totality of the universe and creation. Modern man has not yet solved the problem of the relation of the individual to society. Human society so far has travelled five stages of successive progress—from symbolic, typal, conventional, individualistic to the present rational age and is now heading for a new subjective age to dawn upon the society.

Modern man has now realised, it is absolutely wrong to demand that an individual (social-unit) subordinates himself to the collectively or completely merge in it loosing out his identity, uniqueness. Because it is by the society's most advanced individuals that the collectivity progresses and they can only advance only if they are kept free from the shackles of society-norms and collectivity pressures.

On the other hand, it is also true that as individual advances spiritually and finds out the supreme law of divine nature and stabilises himself on that found out supreme truth, he then feels himself more and more united with the collectivity—this as a product of his natural spontaneity and no more of any external and artificial pressures in the form of social-norms, customs, rules and laws.

Future Spiritual Man in the Making

Spirituality is a progressive awakening to the inner (soul) reality of our being, to an universal spirit and to a cosmic-self and transcendent truth-principle existing behind/beyond our mind, life and body. Its appearance is the sign that a power greater than that of the present man's (highest faculty of) mind is striving to emerge, in its turn, for the purpose of a next greater manifestation upon earth.

In order to open up this new emerging possibility, nature has followed four main lines in succession—religion, occultism, spiritual aspiration and an inner spiritual realisation. By the spiritual realisation and experience, nature attempts to achieve the desired change from the present mental being into an evolved spiritual man.

The Through-put of a Triple Transformation Process

The final goal of this terrestrial evolution is not only to awaken man to the supreme reality (lying behind and beyond) and to release him from earthly bondage and ignorance into a higher state elsewhere, but also to effectuate a corresponding transformation of the prevailing earthly nature and existence. Further more, to get established permanently in this higher form on the earth plane, the new order of existence demands a radical change of the entire human nature through the above-mentioned triple process of transformation.

The human nature is thus at first subject to a process of the reversal of consciousness—a withdrawal within to reach at the central being and follow and work out its dictates without on the external plane. Secondly, it is subject to an opening to the universal reality of spiritual forces around us—the boundless self, the infinity of consciousness and the eternal existence and the ocean of bliss. Thirdly, this process of transformation culminates in a permanent ascension to higher consciousness power and is followed by an effective descent of that higher power into our lower nature to achieve an integral transformation.

The Supramental Summit and Manifestation

These higher powers can be reached out by a mental man at various stages; ranging from the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind to the Supermind. However, the ascent up to the overmind level and its subsequent descent are not sufficient to transform wholly and permanently the inconscience and ignorance of our nature. The supramental summit and its corresponding manifestation upon earth alone, as per Sri Aurobindo, holds the key to achieve this desired transformation.

The Gnostic Being

All these lead to the culmination point of the man's evolutionary journey, as a mental being and is characterised by the supramental consciousness. Sri Aurobindo calls him `gnostic being', which is the perfect consummation of the spiritual man appearing in the near future of a subjective age. The supramental man or the gnostic being will not only realise the harmony of this individual self with the collective body, human society at large but also with the cosmos.

(Dr. Lokaranjan Guha from Calcutta has a Ph.D. in Engineering Management and Environment from the University of Queensland, Australia)


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An Essay submitted to
`The Advanced Research Programme in Sri Aurobindo'
of Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of tomorrow

Passive and Active Aspects of
the Path of Knowledge

Martha Orton

Two Kinds of Realisation

Sri Aurobindo explains that, in the path of knowledge, the realisation of "our pure self, pure existence above the terms of mind, life and body" (20:375) is essentially the first goal, and that the second is the realisation of "Self or Brahman in its essential modes and primarily in its triune reality as Sachchidananda" (20:375). Furthermore, he describes "two kinds of realisation of Self or Sachchidananda. One is that of the silent passive quietistic, self-absorbed, self-sufficient existence, consciousness and delight ... The other is that of the same existence, consciousness, delight sovereign, free, lord of things, acting out of an inalienable calm ..." (20:375) In concluding his description of the two kinds of realisation, Sri Aurobindo states: "It is the Transcendent possessing of them both in His being and employing them both as modes of His manifestation. This then is the object of realisation for the Sadhaka of the Integral Yoga." (20:375) In proposing the realisation of both the silent, passive self and the masterful, active self, Sri Aurobindo sets a goal which is both lofty and comprehensive. It results in spiritual realisation that is not removed from life and the world, but consists of a true mastery that enables a dynamic spiritual life in the world, integrating the higher spiritual reality and force into the material, mental and vital existence.

Therefore, identification with the mental Purusha and the consequent realisation of the individual self are means for further realisation, not ends in themselves. Furthermore, even the realisation of the universal self does not complete the path of knowledge in Sri Aurobindo's view, for he regards the integral realisation of Brahman as having passive and active aspects. Consistent with his integrative view of incorporating life and matter in the spiritual transformation, the experience of Brahman must extend to include the active life of the individual and not remain only a passive, silent realisation. Sri Aurobindo sees the path of knowledge as culminating in the realisation of the Supermind, also referred to as the truth-consciousness, which alone contains the effective powers that can solve the problems of humanity and life in the world.

Bridging the Gap between Mind and Supermind

While it is important to recognise that the paths of works and devotion also lead to the realisation of the Supermind, at present we are focusing on the path of knowledge because of its more direct relevance to humanity's quest for knowledge and mastery. Because we are mental beings, it is through the work of the mind that we strive for realisation. As Sri Aurobindo explains: "But man is a mental and not a yet supramental being. It is by the mind therefore that he has to aim at knowledge and realise his being, with whatever help he can get from the supramental planes." (20:376) The mind itself, however, poses difficulties inherent in its nature which must be overcome. One difficulty of particular importance is its tendency to see things in their parts and not in their comprehensive totality, contrary to the reality of the Divine, which is unity, oneness. One effect of this is that we tend to regard the Divine as something high and beyond ourselves. As Sri Aurobindo states: "If we seek mentally to realise Sachchidananda, there is likely to be this first difficulty that we shall see it as something above, beyond, around even in a sense, but with a gulf between that being and our being, an unbridged or even unbridgeable chasm." (20:378) It is through the eventual union and knowledge by identity that the gap between the Divine and humanity is bridged.

Sri Aurobindo regards it as essential to discover a means of bridging the distance which integrates the reality of the higher consciousness into the mind, life and entire being. He rules out yogic trance as an answer to the problem because when one comes out of trance, one returns to the mentality from which one departed, and essentially nothing has changed except having the transitory experience of trance. For Sri Aurobindo, the goal instead is to spiritualise and transform the mind. As Sri Aurobindo explains:

"… For if its [the mental being's] first possibility is to rise out of itself into a divine supramental plane of being, the other is to call down the divine into itself so that its mentality shall be changed into an image of the divine, shall be divinised and spiritualised. This may be done and primarily must be done by the mind's power of reflecting that which it knows, relates to its own consciousness, contemplates. For the mind is really a reflector and a medium and none of its activities originate in themselves, none exist per se." (20:381)

Through this action the mind can be filled with a reflection of the divine and this can occur most completely and effectively when the being is in a passive state. Consequently, this too is insufficient for the integral realisation. As Sri Aurobindo states: "There must be a positive transformation and not merely a negative quiescence of the waking mentality." (20:381) Sri Aurobindo points the way to the transformation by explaining that there is a higher capacity inherent within the human mind:

"... There are in the mental being divine planes superior to our normal mentality which reproduce the conditions of the divine plane proper, although modified by the conditions, dominant here, of mentality. All that belongs to the experience of the divine plane can there be seized, but in the mental way and in a mental form. To these planes of divine mentality it is possible for the developed human being to arise in the waking state; or it is possible for him to derive from them a stream of influences and experiences which shall eventually open to them and transform into their nature his whole waking existence. These higher mental states are the immediate sources, the large actual instruments, the inner stations of his perfection." (20:381_382)

It is remarkable to contrast this description of the potential of the mind with Sri Aurobindo's descriptions of its problems and limitations. We see that the mind has a higher capacity than we are ordinarily aware, while those capacities of which human beings are often proud, the capacities for intellectual knowledge, thought and reason, are fraught with limitations. Nevertheless Sri Aurobindo also regards these higher mental planes as being compromised by the dividing characteristic of the mind which separates the realisation of Sachchidananda into its parts. It is through an ascent through the higher mental planes that a more and more integral realisation of Sachchidananda becomes possible, but the full realisation comes only with the ascent into the supramental plane above. As Sri Aurobindo states: "Thus identified with Sachchidananda in the universal self-existence as the spiritualised mental being, he may then ascend beyond to the supramental plane of the pure spiritual existence." (20:384)

A Dynamic, Integral Realisation

At this point in Sri Aurobindo's description of the path of knowledge we can see more clearly how human beings can progress in consciousness to attaining the Supermind and the realisation of Sachchidananda, but we may also ask again how this level of spiritual growth relates to the individual's life in the world. For it involves what may initially appear to be such a lofty level of consciousness as to have removed the individual from life and action. Sri Aurobindo provides indication of this in his description of aspects of the process and the state attained, as follows:

"When the Sadhaka has followed the discipline of withdrawal from the various identifications of the self with the ego, the mind, the life, the body, he has arrived at realisation by knowledge of a pure, still, self-aware existence, one, undivided, peaceful, inactive, undisturbed by the action of the world. The only relation that this Self seems to have with the world is that of a disinterested Witness not at all involved in or affected or even touched by any of its activities. If this state of consciousness is pushed farther one becomes aware of a self even more remote from world-existence; all that is in the world is in a sense that Self and yet at the same time extraneous to its consciousness, non-existent in its existence, existing only in a sort of unreal mind, — a dream therefore, an illusion. This aloof and transcendent real Existence may be realised as an utter Self of one's own being; or the very idea of a self and of one's own being may be swallowed up in it ..." (20:384_385)

We are faced with the possibility of existing in a static witness consciousness, unless we push further in the realisation of the self, of Brahman, to experience this as fully our own being and integrate this into an active awareness which we bring "down to earth," as it were, into daily life and existence at the individual level. This further step is necessary for Sri Aurobindo's vision of the integrality and purpose of spirituality, for he states: "The integral Yoga of knowledge demands instead a divine return upon world-existence and its first step must be to realise the Self as the All, sarvam brahma." (20:385) In this realisation we then approach the challenge posed by the passive and active aspects of Brahman, which Sri Aurobindo relates to the ancient conceptions of Purusha and Prakriti as silent witness and active nature, respectively, and declares: "We have still to possess consciously the active Brahman without losing possession of the silent Self." (20:387) He sees this as being accomplished through the great widening of the consciousness in the realisation of the cosmic consciousness. For, in this, one experiences the "realisation of the infinite One into the movement of the infinite multiplicity" (20:390). Sri Aurobindo explains this further as follows:

"He has to concentrate on and realise the one Brahman in all things as conscious force of being as well as pure awareness of conscious being. The Self as the All, not only in the unique essence of things, not only as containing all in a transcendent consciousness, but as becoming all by a constituting consciousness, this is the next step towards his true possession of existence. In proportion as this realisation is accomplished, the status of consciousness as well as the mental view proper to it will change." (20:391)

The realisation of the cosmic consciousness involves the complete merging of the individual being with universal being, in which one experiences the reality of unity with all. The individual no longer sees oneself as separate but as part of universal existence and as participating in life as an integral part of that larger and fully comprehensive reality. This constitutes a major change of consciousness and, as a result, human beings perceive not only themselves, but all life and existence differently:

"We are not mind or life or body, but the informing and sustaining Soul, silent, peaceful, eternal that possesses them; and this Soul we find everywhere sustaining and informing and possessing all lives and minds and bodies and cease to regard it as a separate and individual being in our own. In it all this moves and acts; within all this it is stable and immutable. Having this, we possess our eternal self-existence at rest in its eternal consciousness and bliss. "Next we have to realise this silent Self as the Lord of all the action of universal Nature, the same Self-existent displayed in the creative force of its eternal consciousness. All this action is only His power and knowledge and self-delight going abroad in His eternal wisdom and will." (20:393)

Through the realisation of the cosmic consciousness, the individual may become fully one with all, and experience both the passive and dynamic aspects of Sachchidananda simultaneously. The higher universal reality becomes the complete context of one's existence and, as a result, one is no longer subject to the impact of the ebb and flow of human events and their related emotions. One becomes free of pain and suffering, and untouched by the movements of the lower human nature. In the realisation of Sachchidananda one has reached knowledge of the bliss of existence through identity with it. Mastery of life through this higher knowledge is a fulfillment of the path of knowledge, the quest for higher truth of existence.

Impact on Life in the World

Once again, though, we may ask how this relates to the individual's life in the world. For though Sri Aurobindo describes the realisation as consisting of both passive and active aspects, we might also question how the individual participates in this. Is the individual absorbed into this greater reality or does the individual continue as an identifiable entity. Sri Aurobindo explains that the individual can still maintain the distinctness of individual existence, for we "preserve the individual consciousness of the Jivatman in the cosmic consciousness of the universal Self" (20:394). We continue to live in our individual minds and bodies, while participating in the larger existence, integrating individuality with universality, and the witness consciousness with an active participation in the play of existence. Sri Aurobindo also explains that the height of realisation in the path of knowledge is "to dissolve the personality in universal being, to liberate even the soul-form into the universality of the Spirit" (20:395). The result, he explains, is a complete change of consciousness:

"It is evident that by dwelling in this cosmic consciousness our whole experience and valuation of everything in the universe will be radically changed. As individual egos we dwell in the Ignorance and judge everything by a broken, partial and personal standard of knowledge; we experience everything according to the capacity of a limited consciousness and force and are therefore unable to give a divine response or set true value upon any part of cosmic experience. We experience limitation, weakness, incapacity, grief, pain, struggle and its contradictory emotions or the opposite of these things as opposites in an eternal duality and not in the eternity of an absolute good and happiness …

"By entering into the cosmic consciousness we participate in that all-vision and see everything in the values of the Infinite and the One. Limitation itself, ignorance itself change their meaning for us. Ignorance changes into a particular action of the divine knowledge, strength and weakness and incapacity into a free putting forth and holding back various measures of divine Force, joy and grief, pleasure and pain into a mastering and a suffering of divine delight, struggle into a balancing of forces and values in the divine harmony. We do not suffer by the limitations of our mind, life and body; for we no longer live in these but in the infinity of the Spirit, and these we view in their right value and place and purpose in the manifestation, as degrees of the supreme being, conscious-force and delight of Sachchidananda veiling and manifesting Himself in the cosmos." (20:395_396)

With the realisation of the cosmic consciousness and the liberation into oneness which this constitutes, the being is free from suffering and experiences the joy of union with all existence. Sri Aurobindo explains that it is important for spiritual realisation to consist not only of an ascent of the being, but also of a descent, bringing down the realisation into life on the lower planes of existence. In doing so, the way is opened for the Divine influence to transform human nature and make the realisation integral by including mind, life and body. Sri Aurobindo's emphasis on the dynamism of spiritual realisation and its role as a force for change is consistent through each of the stages of spiritual progress which he envisions. In relation to the cosmic consciousness and Sachchidananda he states:

"If we can break down the veil of the intellectual, emotional, sensational mind which our ordinary existence has built between us and the Divine, we can take up through the Truth-mind all our mental, vital and physical experience and offer it up to the spiritual—this was the secret or mystic sense of the old Vedic `sacrifice'—to be converted into the terms of the infinite truth of Sachchidananda, and we can receive the powers and illuminations of the infinite Existence in forms of a divine knowledge, will and delight to be imposed on our mentality, vitality, physical existence till the lower is transformed into the perfect vessel of the higher." (20:399_400)

The attainment of the cosmic consciousness and the integration of it into life in the world, incorporating the knowledge and mastery inherent in it, is an important aspect of the fulfillment of the path of knowledge. For we are not only to realise the harmony and oneness of the universal reality of existence and experience the joy of Sachchidananda, but also to manifest this throughout the being. We are, in effect, to become that, not only in a passive state of consciousness, but also in a dynamic realisation that is put into play in life and the world. Sri Aurobindo summarises this goal as follows:

"The complete realisation of unity is therefore the essence of the integral knowledge and of the integral Yoga. To know Sachchidananda one in Himself and one in all His manifestation is the basis of knowledge; to make that vision of oneness real to the consciousness in its status and in its action and to become that by merging the sense of separate individuality in the sense of unity with the being and with all beings is its effectuation in the yoga of knowledge; to live, think, feel, will and act in that sense of unity is its effectuation in the individual being and the individual life. This realisation of oneness and this practice of oneness in difference is the whole of the Yoga." (20:402)

This statement not only indicates the meaning Sri Aurobindo intends when he writes of knowledge, but it summarises the nature and purpose of the integral yoga. In considering its significance, we can conclude that the path of knowledge leads to a level of knowledge and mastery that is comprehensive and integral, which encompasses the heights of spiritual consciousness and brings these down into the human mind, body and life to effect a complete change of consciousness.

Impact on Locus of Control

We can also conclude that the attainment of spiritual or integral knowledge, the realisation of oneness, which Sri Aurobindo describes, results in a very different perception of locus of control from that of the ordinary consciousness. In attaining the cosmic consciousness, the individual must have moved through several stages in relation to locus of control. One will have begun at the level of the ordinary consciousness, seeking to gain a sense of mastery or control in life through the pursuit of superficial knowledge and the assertion of individual will. Next, one may have sought help through religious or spiritual faith, and thus have begun to transfer some control to a higher power through offering and prayer. This constitutes an intermediate stage before the individual begins to surrender oneself to the Divine. There follows a progressive surrender of the entire being to the Divine, partly in the recognition of one's limited capacities, but increasingly because the individual seeks to become one with the Divine and a true instrument of the Divine in the world. As sincerity and consciousness progress with the spiritualisation of the being, one recognises that true control is the Divine's alone. Then in the attainment of the cosmic consciousness, the individual becomes one with the Divine reality of Sachchidananda and one's consciousness is radically changed. One no longer sees oneself as separate, but as part of all creation and the universe, and has a sense of participating in all that occurs. It is a universal existence, but a distinct individuality also is maintained for participation in the play of this universal existence. One feels oneself to be an instrument of the Divine Force and knows that the Divine is in control. One attains mastery through a true knowledge by identity with the Divine. One becomes liberated from emotional and mental suffering and enjoys the bliss of an infinite and eternal existence.

Integral Change of Consciousness

The consequences of this change of consciousness occur on both higher and lower levels as it becomes fully integrated into the being. Not only mind, but body and life become transformed by the realisation of oneness. For the realisation to be complete, all of the being and nature must be included and transformed. For this, the action of the Supermind is needed as intermediary between the higher and lower natures, to unify and incorporate all the being completely. Sri Aurobindo describes this:

"This transformation cannot be complete or really executed without the awakening of the truth-mind which corresponds in the mental being to the Supermind and is capable of receiving mentally its illuminations. By the opposition of Spirit and Mind without the free opening of this intermediate power the two natures, higher and lower, stand divided, and though there may be communication and influence or catching up of the lower into the higher in a sort of luminous or ecstatic trance, there cannot be a full and perfect transfiguration of the lower nature." (20:404)

Without the complete transformation of both higher and lower aspects of the being an uneven interplay occurs between the two in which sometimes the influence of one prevails and sometimes the other. As this occurs, one becomes increasingly aware of the need to unite and harmonise the two in the higher consciousness. The Supermind has the transforming and harmonising power that is needed to make the transformation of the entire being complete and integral, and it is the realisation of the Supermind that is the culmination of the path of knowledge. It is also the complete change of consciousness to which the Mother and Sri Aurobindo refer, when they write of the solution to human suffering and the human quest for knowledge and mastery. Its power and capacity to do so are evident when we read Sri Aurobindo's description, which also begins with an encouraging indication that without the realisation of the supermind, human beings nevertheless receive some of its influence:

"Our direct truth-perceptions on the other hand come from that Supermind, — a Will that knows and a Knowledge that effects, — which creates universal order out of infinity. Its awakening into action brings down, says the Veda, the unrestricted downpour of the rain of heaven, — the full flowing of the seven rivers from a superior sea of light and power and joy. It reveals Sachchidananda. It reveals the Truth behind the scattered and ill-combined suggestions of our mentality and makes each to fall into its place in the unity of the Truth behind; thus it can transform the half-light of our minds into a certain totality of light. It reveals the Will behind all the devious and imperfectly regulated striving of our mental will and emotional wishes and vital effort and makes each to fall into its place in the unity of the luminous Will behind; thus it can transform the half-obscure struggle of our life and mind into a certain totality of ordered force. It reveals the delight for which each of our sensations and emotions is groping and from which they fall back in movements of partially grasped satisfaction or of dissatisfaction, pain, grief or indifference, and makes each take its place in the unity of the universal delight behind; thus it can transform the conflict of our dualised emotions and sensations into a certain totality of serene, yet profound and powerful love and delight. Moreover, revealing the universal action, it shows the truth of being out of which each of its movements arises and to which each progresses, the force of effectuation which each carries with it and the delight of being for which and from which each is born, and it relates all to the universal being, consciousness, force and delight of Sachchidananda." (20:405)

This extraordinary description suggests that the Supermind provides the fulfillment of the human spiritual quest. It is all the mastery and knowledge that one could ever seek and occurs through unity with the Divine and an integral realisation of Sachchidananda. This realisation occurs not only on the higher planes of spiritual consciousness, but also on the earth, active in the play of existence and the growth and transformation of consciousness. It is a harmonising and unifying power that transforms all aspects of being and unites them in Sachchidananda. In the integral realisation of Sachchidananda, one attains oneness with all, unites one's will with the Divine's will, and realises the Divine as one's self. Sri Aurobindo succinctly summarises how the integral knowledge offers fulfillment: "The Knowledge brings also the Power and the Joy. `How shall he be deluded, whence shall he have sorrow who sees everywhere the Oneness?' " (20:407) Sri Aurobindo thus describes the way in which mankind's impulsion for knowledge and mastery, when carried to its conclusion in an integral spiritual knowledge and realisation, leads to the fulfillment of the being and the complete and lasting solution to the problems of human life.

(Martha Orton is a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.A. from The Catholic University of America)


Distance Learning Centre
Sri Aurobindo Studies
starting from 24th April 2006
for details contact:
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A Peep into the Online Classroom of
Sri Aurobindo Darshan:
The University of Tomorrow

Posted: 21 Oct 2005 11:43 am Post subject: Short Essay Test Posted by Larry

Often, when people learn of our interest in Integral Yoga, they will ask, `What is Integral Yoga?' Although we may become very excited and launch into a long discourse, we will often see that very soon they become bored. Some people can tolerate just a one-sentence answer. Other people, who are perhaps just trying to be polite, can tolerate one paragraph.

Therefore, to arm yourself, I would like you to compose an answer to this question, considering that the reader (or listener) may be unfamiliar with yoga. The first sentence should be your best one-sentence answer. Then continue with a more expansive answer for those people who can tolerate one paragraph (say, a maximum of about 300 words).

Please try to finish this by Sunday. Enjoy!

Posted: 21 Oct 2005 06:52 pm Post subject: Short essay test Posted by Vladimir

Hi, Larry! What is Integral Yoga? It is a practical psychology. It is a group of psychological methods which are used to improve our personality.

These methods concentrate the energies of the usual human activity into single pointed action which modifies our personality. By these methods we gain the knowledge about inner structure of our personality, we start to see how the parts of our being work and how they interact with others parts and the entire world.

(I hope, you are satisfied. I tried to stay under 300)

Best wishes, Vladimir

Posted: 22 Oct 2005 06:24 am Post subject: Larry Seidlitz Posted by Larry

Vladimir, your essay is good, and very understandable. It is only 72 words, so I have taken the liberty to add a little more in the same vein to make it a little more complete. The addition brings it to 130 words. See how you like the addition.

"We learn how to put these parts of our nature into order, and how to improve their functioning so they reach their higher possibilities. We discover greater, latent powers of our consciousness, and bring these out into action in our lives and in the world around us. We strive towards a more harmonious and fulfilling life for all."

Posted: 22 Oct 2005 08:20 am Post subject: Vladimir Posted by Vladimir

Dear Larry! Thank you very much for a wonderful addition to my post. It makes my answer complete. Warm regards, Vladimir


Evaluation of `the Orientation Programme in
Sri Aurobindo Studies' by a few students of the course

1. Emilya Dunayets

Dear Dr. Ananda Reddy!

In the past four weeks I learned from you to discriminate better between truth and error in my own perception of The Life Divine and always look for the deeper meaning in Sri Aurobindo's words. For the first time I have experienced "free progress learning strategy," introduced by the Mother. I did not know that it is such a marvelous thing!

By your teaching strategy, I think, the limitations of my understanding Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine moved a great deal, and this experience had been so new and joyful, that I do not want this class to end! Your educating strategy was very helpful. Synopses of the text were good, but most enlightening were your notes from the lectures on The Life Divine and the short paraphrases of main points of the text of Chapter III.

In fact, I would like to see more of your interpretations of Sri Aurobindo's texts in the form of simplified and condensed ideas of the Sri Aurobindo's vast thoughts which are not easily grasped by an ordinary human mind. You can do it remarkably well. As you wrote to me once "It is my main effort to explain in simple words the undiluted truth" of Sri Aurobindo's ideas.

It would also be helpful if you would discuss the basic terms of Sri Aurobindo's writings such as Tat, Sat, Chit, etc., before the reading assignments are given as you wonderfully did it in the article "Evolution and the Destiny of Man in Sri Aurobindo."

You showed us the depth and clarity and precision as ever present qualities of the Sri Aurobindo's philosophical method and taught us to adopt these qualities in our own logic and reasoning.

Regarding Larry's class, it was the most rewarding experience of reading the first five chapters of The Synthesis of Yoga in his company. I only regret that such tremendously intense reading material had to be discussed over such a short period of time, as four weeks! I felt overwhelmed by the meaning of Sri Aurobindo's words, as they have described not only all of the past efforts of humanity on the way to the spiritual discovery, but the whole of the Integral Yoga with its methods and their workings in the future of humanity and the whole creation! Sometimes, answering questions seemed pointless to me next to this formidable vision. May be, it is necessary to make more time for this section in your future schedule. Otherwise, he always was there, always talking to us, on weekdays and weekends and giving individual evaluation to everyone, full of encouragement and appreciation.

This course was a turning point in my life and I will continue to be your student in the future.

My deepest gratitude to you as my teacher.

*  *  *

2. Rahul Sridhar

The Orientation Programme indeed fulfils a long-felt need in understanding and studying the thoughts and mission of Sri Aurobindo.

The course has helped in understanding the width and depth that lies hidden in the works of Sri Aurobindo. It has helped me to personally understand the exact process and meaning of Integral Yoga. This has been achieved in a short span of time, which a lifetime of cursory and unfocussed reading could not have done.

All the facilitators for every module were knowledgeable, helpful and spared no pains to ensure that each participant immersed and searched himself as well as the works of Sri Aurobindo for an answer. This has ensured that the exercise was not merely one of answering questions and passing exams but one of self-introspection. A first and significant step on the road to Integral Yoga.

Rather than stating that the course is difficult, it would be apt to say that Sri Aurobindo's writings do not belong to the usual run of writers. He invites and takes each reader of his works, through the experience that is latent in him. It is more of transmitting his ideas through the written word. This calls for a different approach to the study of his works. His style of writing matches the pattern of his thoughts and experience. This has been effectively brought out by the facilitators of every module by framing the appropriate questions to set the student's thinking on the specific track.

I can personally state that the course is an all-round success and was also enjoyable. Probably, it would attract participation in a face-to-face interactive situation. However, the web-based learning is a great tool and was exciting.

My personal best wishes for the continued success and expansion of this concept, so that the message of Sri Aurobindo reaches ever larger numbers of people. 

*  *  *

3. Vladimir Nemchin

Dear Ananda! 

During Orientation Program we had three main segments. In every segment there were the main text and an additional reading. But some additional readings were unattainable. There is no electronic library in the University of Tomorrow where I could find these sources. Glossary of terms was absent in each segment also. In the course of Integral Philosophy I was able to answer your questions only due to the fact that I read ahead, because the answers to the questions posted were located not in the weekly assignments, but further in the text.

In the Integral Philosophy and Metaphysics you gave to us wonderful explanations and schemes. Your class was for me a realisation of impossible. Your questions stimulated my intellectual growth and pushed the limits of my understanding further. While in your class I had to go beyond my ordinary perceptions and reasoning. You gave all of us the stimulus to change our vision and principles of understanding the words of Sri Aurobindo. I felt myself like a child who just makes his first steps lead by the hand of a teacher. 

I am very grateful to you for all you have done for me. I wonder how much more I have to discover and to accomplish. 

The course with Larry was really intense, and it clarified and brought together my understanding of The Synthesis of Yoga. Moreover, during the course I gained much more insight in the systems of yoga than I had before.

In general, I enjoyed this course very much and I am intended to continue to be your student in the near future.


Annual Reports


1. International Home for Scholars (IHS): a small piece of land abetting SACAR has been purchased to provide accommodation for resident scholars of SACAR.

2. On the request of Government of India, MHRD, the Director of SACAR, Dr. Ananda Reddy, visited Russia, Germany and Spain and delivered talks on Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy and Yoga.

3. Swadhyaya readings: on every Friday the Mother's works are being read and discussed.

4. The Government of Pondicherry recognised SACAR and issued permission to give certificates to students of Orientation Course in Sri Aurobindo Studies.

5. SACAR conducted workshops on `Value Education' for teachers and students.

6. Courses in The Life Divine: twice a year during February and August darshans.

7. The third semester of The University of Tomorrow has been completed successfully.

8. SACAR has published its latest book: Love and Death: Critical Essays, edited by

Dr. Ananda Reddy.


1. Conducted a course on `Essential Unity of Religions' for 10th class students of SAIS.

2. Conducted six workshops on `Strengthening Education for Culture and Values' covering 300 teachers.

3. Conducted one-day seminar on `Population Explosion and its Impact on Quality of Life' on 27-2-2005.

4. Conducted 3-day workshop on "Leadership" at Champak Hills for 10th class students of SAIS in October 2005.

5. `International Day of Tolerance' was celebrated in Sri Aurobindo International School. Essay writing competition was conducted.

6. On 17th November 2005, Shri V.V. Raghava Rao gave a talk on `The Foundations of Indian Culture'. Essay writing competition on the same subject was conducted .

7. Inter-school competitions were conducted on 22-11-2005.

8. Shri C.K. Ramanatha Chetty delivered a talk on `All Life Is Yoga' on 24th November 2005 at Mataravinda Kendram, Jangaon.

9. Organised Sri Aurobindo Jayanti talk on 4-12-2005.

10. Dr. V. Ananda Reddy delivered talks on `Death of Satyavan' and `Death of Death' on 5th and 10th December 2005, respectively.

11. Awarded gold medals to the best students of SAIS.

12. Two issues of New Race were published.


1. Maintained Aditi residential school at Champak Hills. One batch after completion of 4th standard left the school on 12-4-2005. A new batch of 15 students was admitted.

2. Tailoring training centres are functioning in seven villages. Two more centres have been opened this year. Night schools are functioning in four villages.

3. Rural libraries are functioning in five villages.

4. Free Medical Centre conducted annual health check up of about 600 students. Distributed free medicines.

5. Purchased books for farmers' Agriculture Information Centre.

6. Planted 3000 trees under social forestry in the Trust land.

7. Dug bunkers under watershed development programme.

8. Conducted rural sports competitions for men and women.

9. Conducted 10-day summer camp in May 2005. Thirty children participated.

10. Conducted competitions in Janapada songs and dances for rural schools.

11. About 2000 Bio-diesel plants of Jetropha and Kanugu were planted in the Trust lands. 3000 Jetropha plants were distributed among the farmers. A plant nursery has been developed at Champak Hills.


1. SAIS students were exposed to environmental studies through lectures.

2. Relics and meditation hall maintenance.

3. Prasad distribution and prosperity dinners.

4. Medical aid to poor.

5. Land located in front of SAIS was purchased.

6. A piece of land abetting the building at Pondicherry was purchased.


1. Books on Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy and Yoga were distributed.

2. Education tour of Sri Aurobindo International School children to Pondicherry was organised. About 50 children and teachers of SAIS were taken on Education Tour.


1. Free health checkup of students at Institute of Human Study.

2. Promotion of Fine Arts—inter-school competitions were conducted and the prizes were awarded.