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object: - Peace, Calm, Silence and the Self
book class:Letters On Yoga III
author class:Sri Aurobindo

Section Three
Spiritual Experiences and Realisations

Chapter One

Experiences of the Self, the One and the Infinite
That [state of vast peace and calm] is the basic experience of the
higher consciousness - it is what is called the realisation of the
Atman (the Self).
It is the Atman, the spiritual being above the mind - the first
experience of it is a silence and calm (which one perceives afterwards to be infinite and eternal) untouched by the movements of
mind and life and body. The higher consciousness lives always
in touch with the Self - the lower is separated from it by the
activities of the Ignorance.
When one becomes aware of the Self calm, silent, wide, universal, it is no longer covered over by the ignorance; when one
identifies with the Self and not with the mind, life and body and
their movements or with the small ego, that is the release of the
And how is the outer nature to rise into the higher Prakriti
before you realise the Self? The higher nature is that of the
higher consciousness of which the first basis is the peace and
wideness and realisation of the Self, the One that is all.
The gaining of peace makes it easier to get the experience of the
pure and free Self.


Letters on Yoga - III

If not aspiration, at least keep the idea of what is necessary -
(1) that the silence and peace shall become a wideness which you
can realise as the Self, (2) the extension of the silent consciousness upwards as well so that you may feel its source above you,
(3) the presence of peace etc. all the time. These things need not
all come at once, but by realising what has to be in your mind,
any falling towards a condition of inertia can be avoided.
What one feels first [in the silence] is the pure existence of the
self, without any idea, characteristic or movement - existence
pure and simple, Sat Brahman - or else one feels that and a
vast peace and wideness. Afterwards other things are felt such
as Ananda, but always with this as the basis.
A great wave (or sea) of calm and the constant consciousness
of a vast and luminous Reality - this is precisely the character
of the fundamental realisation of the Supreme Truth in its first
touch on the mind and the soul. One could not ask for a better
beginning or foundation - it is like a rock on which the rest can
be built. It means certainly not only a Presence, but the Presence
- and it would be a great mistake to weaken the experience by
any non-acceptance or doubt of its character.
It is not necessary to define it and one ought not even to try
to turn it into an image; for this Presence is in its nature infinite.
Whatever it has to manifest of itself or out of itself, it will do
inevitably by its own power, if there is a sustained acceptance.
It is quite true that it is a grace sent and the only return
needed for such a grace is acceptance, gratitude and to allow
the Power that has touched the consciousness to develop what
has to be developed in the being - by keeping oneself open to
it. The total transformation of the nature cannot be done in a
moment; it must take long and proceed through stages; what
is now experienced is only an initiation, a foundation for the
new consciousness in which that transformation will become
possible. The automatic spontaneity of the experience ought by

Experiences of the Self, the One and the Infinite


itself to show that it is nothing constructed by the mind, will or
emotions; it comes from a Truth that is beyond them.
The vastness, the overwhelming calm and silence in which you
feel merged is what is called the Atman or the silent Brahman. It
is the whole aim of many Yogas to get this realisation of Atman
or silent Brahman and live in it. In our Yoga it is only the first
stage of the realisation of the Divine and of that growing of
the being into the higher or divine Consciousness which we call
A sadhak of integral Yoga who stops short at the Impersonal is
no longer a sadhak of integral Yoga. Impersonal realisation is the
realisation of the silent Self, of the pure Existence, Consciousness and Bliss in itself without any perception of an Existent,
Conscient, Blissful. It leads therefore to Nirvana. In the integral knowledge the realisation of the Self and of the impersonal
Sachchidananda is only a step, though a very important step, or
part of the integral knowledge. It is a beginning, not an end of
the highest realisation.

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  object: - Peace, Calm, Silence and the Self
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

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