Soul: Its Nature, Mission & Evolution
The human being and its psychology is a very complex matter. We are not only a physical being with a physical body composed of muscle and bone, brain and heart, but also and even more importantly, a mind, an emotional being and a vital (life-force) being as well. And this even is not all, as it is in the experience of sages and saints of various spiritual traditions throughout millennia that most importantly we are also a soul and a spirit.
This innermost soul, or psychic being as Sri Aurobindo terms it, is the subject of this book which is compiled of relevant extracts and selections on the theme from the collected works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
What is meant in the terminology of the yoga by the psychic is the soul element in the nature, the pure psyche or divine nucleus which stands behind mind, life and body (it is not the ego) but of which we are only dimly aware. It is a portion of the Divine and permanent from life to life, taking the experience of life through its outer instruments. As this experience grows it manifests a developing psychic personality which insisting always on the good, true and beautiful, finally becomes ready and strong enough to turn the nature towards the Divine.Sri Aurobindo, p.4
Though in ordinary parlance and conversation we use the term “psychic” to relate to various kind of occult phenomena, as in “psychic powers” or “psychics”, the word “psychic” in the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is used in a specialized sense to refer only to the innermost soul element and soul-personality hidden within the covering of the human nature.
But people do not understand what I mean by the psychic being, because the word psychic has been used in English to mean anything of the inner mental, inner vital or inner physical or anything abnormal or occult or even the more subtle movements of the outer being, all in a jumble—also occult phenomena are often called psychic. The distinction between these different parts of the being is unknown. Even in India the old knowledge of the Upanishads in which they are distinguished has been lost.Sri Aurobindo, p.4
Through the many extraordinary extracts in this book, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother explain the nature of the psychic being, its role and function in the human being and psychology, its growth and development, its importance in spiritual life and experience, and its relation with the afterlife and the process of death and rebirth.
All this knowledge which is shared in the book is a result of Sri Aurobindo and the Mothers’ very intensive spiritual discipline and experience over many decades of life. Though privileged by this experience to knowledge of the soul and spirit outside of normal human awareness, they also explain to the reader how the same knowledge and experience can be had by a similar discipline.
In the ordinary life there’s not one person in a million who has a conscious contact with his psychic being, even momentarily. The psychic being may work from within, but so invisibly and unconsciously for the outer being that it is as though it did not exist. And in most cases, the immense majority, almost the totality of cases, it’s as though it were asleep, not at all active, in a kind of torpor.
It is only with the sadhana and a very persistent effort that one succeeds in having a conscious contact with his psychic being. Naturally, it is possible that there are exceptional cases—but this is truly exceptional, and they are so few that they could be counted—where the psychic being is an entirely formed, liberated being, master of itself, which has chosen to return to earth in a human body in order to do its work. And in this case, even if the person doesn’t do the sadhana consciously, it is possible that the psychic being is powerful enough to establish a more or less conscious relation. But these cases are, so to say, unique and are exceptions which confirm the rule.
In almost, almost all cases, a very, very sustained effort is needed to become aware of one’s psychic being. Usually it is considered that if one can do it in thirty years one is very lucky—thirty years of sustained effort, I say. It may happen that it’s quicker. But this is so rare that immediately one says, “This is not an ordinary human being.” That’s the case of people who have been considered more or less divine beings and who were great yogis, great initiates.The Mother, p. 105
Q: You wrote to me that it is not easy to come in contact with the psychic being. Why do You consider it difficult? How should I begin?
A: I said “not easy” because the contact is not spontaneous—it is voluntary. The psychic being always has an influence on the thoughts and actions, but one is rarely conscious of it. To become conscious of the psychic being, one must want to do so, make one’s mind as silent as possible, and enter deep into the heart of one’s being, beyond sensations and thoughts. One must form the habit of silent concentration and descent into the depths of one’s being.
The discovery of the psychic being is a definite and very concrete fact, as all who have had the experience know.The Mother, p. 106
The extracts in the book are compiled by A.S. Dalal, a diligent and competent compiler of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s works on a variety of related themes, including:
- Emergence of the Psychic
- Gifts of Grace
- Growing Within
- The Hidden Forces of Life
- Living Within
- Living Words
- Looking from Within
- Our Many Selves
- Powers Within
- The Yoga of Sleep and Dreams.
This book is in paperback format, in handy 5” x 7.25” size, and has 227 pages including an index.
It is highly recommended for all spiritual aspirants who seek for a more detailed explanation about the soul and a practical method and guidance whereby firsthand knowledge and experience of the soul can be achieved.
- Psychic Being, The$5.95