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object:2.2.02 - The True Being and the True Consciousness
book class:Letters On Yoga I
author class:Sri Aurobindo

Chapter Two

The True Being
and the True Consciousness
The True Being
The true being may be realised in one or both of two aspects -
the Self or Atman and the soul or antaratman, psychic being or
caitya purus.a. The difference is that one is felt as universal, the
other as individual supporting the mind, life and body. When
one first realises the Atman one feels it separate from all things,
existing in itself and detached, and it is to this realisation that the
image of the dry coconut fruit may apply. When one realises the
psychic being, it is not like that; for this brings the sense of union
with the Divine and dependence upon it and sole consecration
to the Divine alone and the power to change the nature and
discover the true mental, the true vital, the true physical being
in oneself. Both realisations are necessary for this Yoga.
The "I" or the little ego is constituted by Nature and is at
once a mental, vital and physical formation meant to aid in centralising and individualising the outer consciousness and action.
When the true being is discovered, the utility of the ego is over
and this formation has to disappear - the true being is felt in its
The psychic is the true being here - the ego is simply a mental,
vital, physical formation of the mobile consciousness in Nature
which is wrongly taken for our true being so long as the psychic
is veiled and the consciousness is in the Ignorance.
As to the change of nature, the first step is to become conscious


Letters on Yoga - I

and separate from the old surface nature. For this rajasic vital
nature is a surface creation of Prakriti, it is not the true being;
however persistent it seems, it is only a temporary combination
of vital movements. Behind is the true mental and vital being
supported by the psychic - this true being is calm, wide, peaceful. By drawing back and becoming separate one creates the
possibility of living in the peace of this inner Purusha no longer
identified with the surface Prakriti. Afterwards it will be much
easier to change, by the force of the psychic perception and the
Peace and Power and Light from above, the surface being.
The outward disturbances cannot touch the true being. If one is
in the true being, they are not felt as belonging to oneself, but
as outside or surface movements which leave one unmoved and
unidentified with them.
The true inner being - the true mental, the true vital, the true
physical represent each on its plane and answer to the central
being, but the whole of the nature and especially the outer nature
does not nor the ordinary mental, vital or physical personality.
The psychic being is the central being for the purposes of the
evolution - it grows and develops; but there is a central being
above of which the mind is not aware which presides unseen over
the existence and of which the psychic being is the representative
in the manifested nature. It is what is called the Jivatman.
The true being mental, vital or subtle physical has always the
greater qualities of its plane - it is the Purusha and like the
psychic, though in another way, the projection of the Divine,
therefore in connection with the Higher Consciousness and reflects something of it, though it is not altogether that - it is also
in tune with the cosmic Truth.

The True Being and the True Consciousness


The True Consciousness
The condition you describe1 is the true consciousness, psychic
and spiritual, which will become the base of the sadhana. If it is
only for a brief time that it comes, it is always so at the beginning
of its coming, but afterwards it fixes and becomes a pervading
basis. It is a sign of the psychic opening and when the psychic
fully opens and inspires the mind and heart, the love you wish
to have will undoubtedly be there. Aspire and persevere and all
will come with the growing consciousness.
The consciousness that is aware of the Divine and the Truth and
does not look at things from the ego [is the true consciousness]
- it is wide and calm and strong and aspires to union and
surrender - it is many things besides, but this is the essential.
It [an experience reported by the correspondent] is the true Yogic
consciousness in which one feels the oneness and lives in it,
not touched by the outer being and its inferior movements, but
looking on them with a smile at their ignorance and smallness. It
will become much more possible to deal with these outer things
if that separateness is maintained always.
Living in the true consciousness is living in a consciousness in
which one is spiritually in union with the Divine in one way or
another. But it does not follow that by so living one will have
the complete, exact and infallible truth about all ideas, all things
and all persons.
It is the true consciousness growing within that gives the power
[to be free from the vital forces]. As it grows, these vital forces
1 The correspondent's letter is not available. - Ed.


Letters on Yoga - I

get more and more externalised and foreign to the nature. It is
only by the power of past habit that they rise.
This [vast consciousness above the head] was the true consciousness that must establish itself, but before it can establish itself it
must come down below the head and take full possession of the
navel and two lower centres and pervade the body down to the
feet and even below. Once established, it holds the ego-forces
outside or, even if they come, whether in rajasic or tamasic
obstructive form, keeps the inner being totally detached and
unmoved all the time by their environmental presence.
The consciousness of the mind, life, body in each person is
ordinarily shut up in itself; it is narrow, not wide, sees itself
as the centre of everything, judges all things according to its
own impressions - it does not know anything as it really is. But
when by Yoga one begins to open to the true consciousness,
then this barrier begins to break down. One feels the mind grow
wider, even in the end the physical consciousness grows wider
and wider, until you feel all things in yourself, yourself one with
all things. You then become one with the Mother's universal
Consciousness. That is why you feel the mind becoming wide.
But also there is much above the human mind and it is this
which you feel like a world above your head. All these are the
ordinary experiences of our Yoga. It is only a beginning. But
in order that it may go on developing, you must become more
and more quiet, more and more able to hold whatever comes
without getting too eager and excited. Peace and calmness are
the first thing, and with it wideness - in the peace you can bear
whatever love or Ananda comes, whatever strength comes or
whatever knowledge.
To feel quietude, peace, the force working is to be conscious; the
unconscious condition comes only by confusion and admitting

The True Being and the True Consciousness


wrong suggestions and restlessness; if you reject these things, the
true consciousness will grow in you. Naturally, the consciousness you have now is nothing to what you will have hereafter
when it has grown; but it has to begin in this way and increase by
quietude. You cannot have the full complete consciousness now
and it is no use repining and doubting because it is not complete
or fully established as yet; that fretting only delays and hinders.
Open yourself; remain quiet; let it grow.
There is no insincerity in asking me again and again for the right
condition - the feeling of connection and the true consciousness
and the psychic state. It is most important that you should have
them and become able to keep them. It is indeed the one thing
needful for you.

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