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Sri Aurobindo

Letters of Sri Aurobindo


Fragment ID: 8354

(this fragment is largest or earliest found passage)

Sri Aurobindo — Unknown addressee

August 18, 1932

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Passages from The Yoga and Its Objects [2]

“For behind the Sad Atman is the silence of the Asat which the Buddhist Nihilists realised as the śūnyam and beyond that silence is the Paratpara Purusha (puruṣo vareṇya ādityavarṇas tamasaḥ parastāt)” [p. 76].

The passage in Yoga and Its Objects is written from the point of view of the spiritualised Mind approaching the supreme Truth directly, without passing through the Supermind or disappearing into it. The Mind spiritualises itself by shedding all its own activities and formations and reducing everything to a pure Existence, Sad Atman, from which all things and activities proceed and which supports everything. When it wants to go still beyond, it negates yet farther and arrives at an Asat, which is the negation of all this existence and yet Something inconceivable to mind, speech or defining experience. It is the silent Unknowable, the Turiya or featureless and relationless Absolute of the monistic Vedantins, the Sunyam of the nihilistic Buddhists, the Tao or omnipresent and transcendent Nihil of the Chinese, the indefinable and ineffable Permanent of the Mahayana. Many Christian mystics also speak of the necessity of a complete ignorance in order to get the supreme experience and speak too of the Divine Darkness – they mean the shedding of all mental knowledge, making a blank of the mind and engulfing it in the Unmanifest,– the param avyaktam. All this is the mind’s way of approaching the Supreme – for beyond the avyakta, tamasaḥ parastāt, is the Supreme, the Purushottama of the Gita, the Para Purusha of the Upanishads. It is āditya-varṇa in contrast to the darkness of the Unmanifest; it is a metaphor, but not a mere metaphor, for it is a symbol also, a symbol visually seen by the sūkṣma dṛṣṭi, the subtle vision, and not merely a symbol, but, as one might say, a fact of spiritual experience. The sun in the Yoga is the symbol of the supermind and the supermind is the first power of the Supreme which one meets across the border where the experience of spiritualised mind ceases and the unmodified divine Consciousness begins the domain of the supreme nature, parā prakṛti. It is that Light of which the Vedic mystics got a glimpse and it is the opposite of the intervening darkness of the Christian mystics – for the supermind is all light and no darkness. To the mind the Supreme is avyaktāt param avyaktam, but if we follow the line leading to the supermind, it is an increasing affirmation rather than an increasing negation through which we move.

Light is always seen in Yoga with the inner eye and even with the outer eye, but there are many lights; all are not and all do not come from the paraṃ jyotiḥ.

18 August 1932


1 SABCL, volume 22: The Yoga and its Objects


2 SABCL, volume 22: eye, even


3 SABCL, volume 22; Letters of Sri Aurobindo. 2 Ser.: from the supreme Light, param jyotiḥ


Current publication:

[Largest or earliest found passage: ] Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Himself and the Ashram // CWSA.- Volume 35. (≈ 26 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2011.- 658 p.

Other publications:

Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga // SABCL.- Volume 22. (≈ 28 vol. of CWSA).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1971.- 502 p.

Sri Aurobindo. Letters on Yoga. III // CWSA.- Volume 30. (≈ 22-24 vol. of SABCL).- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2014.- 508 p.

Sri Aurobindo. Letters of Sri Aurobindo: In 4 Series.- Second Series [On Yoga].- Bombay: Sri Aurobindo Sircle, 1949.- 599 p.