Letters of Sri Aurobindo
2. Integral Yoga and Other Paths
Fragment ID: 170
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Sri Aurobindo — Unknown addressee
November 4, 1946
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Sri Aurobindo has no remarks1 to make on Huxley’s comments with which he is in entire agreement. But in the phrase “to its heights we can always reach”, very obviously “we” does not refer to humanity in general but to those who have a sufficiently developed inner spiritual life. It is probable that Sri Aurobindo was thinking of his own experience. After three years of spiritual effort with only minor results he was shown by a yogi the way to silence his mind. This he succeeded in doing entirely in two or three days by following the method shown. There was an entire silence of thought and feeling and all the ordinary movements of consciousness except the perception and recognition of things around without any accompanying concept or other reaction. The sense of ego disappeared and the movements of the ordinary life as well as speech and action were carried on by some habitual activity of Prakriti alone which was not felt as belonging to oneself. But the perception which remained saw all things as utterly unreal; this sense of unreality was overwhelming and universal. Only some undefinable Reality was perceived as true which was beyond space and time and unconnected with any cosmic activity, but yet was met wherever one turned. This condition remained unimpaired for several months and even when the sense of unreality disappeared and there was a return to participation in the world-consciousness, the inner peace and freedom which resulted from this realisation remained permanently behind all surface movements and the essence of the realisation itself was not lost. At the same time an experience intervened: something else than himself took up his dynamic activity and spoke and acted through him but without any personal thought or initiative. What this was remained unknown until Sri Aurobindo came to realise the dynamic side of the Brahman, the Ishwara, and felt himself moved by that in all his sadhana and action. These realisations and others which followed upon them, such as that of the Self in all and all in the Self and all as the Self, the Divine in all and all in the Divine, are the heights to which Sri Aurobindo refers and to which he says we can always rise; for they presented to him no long or obstinate difficulty. The only real difficulty which took decades of spiritual effort to work out towards completeness was to apply the spiritual knowledge utterly to the world and to the surface psychological and outer life and to effect its transformation both on the higher levels of Nature and on the ordinary mental, vital and physical levels down to the subconscience and the basic Inconscience and up to the supreme Truth-Consciousness or supermind in which alone the dynamic transformation could be entirely integral and absolute.
1 These remarks were dictated by Sri Aurobindo apropos of the phrase “to its heights we can always reach” occurring in the following passage in The Life Divine quoted and commented upon by Aldous Huxley in his book, The Perennial Philosophy (1946 Edition), p.74:
“The touch of Earth is always reinvigorating to the son of Earth, even when he seeks a supraphysical Knowledge. It may even be said that the supraphysical can only be really mastered in its fullness – to its heights we can always reach – when we keep our feet firmly on the physical. ‘Earth is His footing,’ says the Upanishad whenever it images the Self that manifests in the universe.” (American Edition, p.13.)
2 SABCL, volume 26; CWSA, volumes 29, 35; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 4 Ser. carry
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga // SABCL.- Volume 22. (≈ 28 vol. of CWSA).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.- 502 p.
Sri Aurobindo. On Himself // SABCL.- Volume 26. (≈ 35 vol. of CWSA)
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Himself and the Ashram // CWSA.- Volume 35. (≈ 26 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2011.- 658 p.
Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga. II // CWSA.- Volume 29. (≈ 22-24 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2013.- 522 p.
[Largest or earliest found passage: ] Sri Aurobindo. Letters of Sri Aurobindo: In 4 Series.- Forth Series [On Yoga].- Bombay: Sri Aurobindo Sircle, 1951.- 652 p.