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object: - Experiences of Ascent and Descent
book class:Letters On Yoga III
author class:Sri Aurobindo

The ascent of the consciousness in the lower centres into the
higher and the descent of the higher powers and the white light
indicates a farther preparation of the vital and physical being
and its forces by spiritualisation of the centres.
All these are different actions of the Force on the adhar with
the one intention of opening it up from above and below and
horizontally also. The action from above opens it to the descent
of forces from above the Mind and the ascent of consciousness
above the lid of the ordinary human mind. The horizontal action opens it to the cosmic consciousness on all its levels. The
action from below helps to connect the superconscient with the
subconscient. Finally the consciousness instead of being limited
in the body becomes infinite, rises infinitely above, plunges infinitely below, widens infinitely on every side. There is besides
the opening of all the centres to the Light and Power and Ananda
that has to descend from above. At present only the mind centres
seem to receive fully the descent of Force, while the upper vital
centres are being prepared with a minor action on other parts
of the body. It is a matter of time and perseverance for the way
to be entirely open.
The experience you feel is that of the Atman, the cosmic Self
supporting the cosmic consciousness - not yet clear but in its
first impression. When the consciousness goes down from that
condition, it brings something of it into the vital and physical
consciousness and the result is either that these parts or at least


Letters on Yoga - III

the vital open and get into touch with what has been brought
down. The inert tamasikata or the unease in the legs comes
because the physical is not able to receive or assimilate. This
will disappear when that part opens and receives and is able to
It was there the occasional descent of the Force to establish
a connection - here the descent is taking another form intended
to establish the fundamental experiences of the Realisation.
It is the beginning of a very decisive experience and realisation -
first, the Ascent above the mind (head) into the spiritual plane.
It is here that one releases and is released into the vastness,
fullness, solace, freedom, peace and joy of the Infinite and becomes aware of the universal Self and the Divine. Its realisation
is the foundation (when it is fixed and when one rises constantly
above the body in the wideness of the infinite Being) of the
spiritual state and the beginning of the spiritual transformation
of the nature. What you have been having up to now is the
psychic change; when the psychic and spiritual join together,
then the transformation can be complete. For this the Descent is
necessary and that is the second thing you are feeling, - the descent of the higher, spiritual or divine consciousness and energy
into the whole system down to the bottom of the spine where
is the Muladhara or centre of the physical consciousness. The
Energy descends through all the levels and centres, mind centres,
vital centres, physical centre and fills the whole body with the
higher existence and consciousness. The ascent is the liberation
(mukti) and when once this ascends, one is liberated from the
body consciousness, one no longer feels the body as a form,
no longer feels contained in the body, but widens out into the
formless Vastness of the Divine. Or sometimes the body is felt
as something very small in this vastness. In the Descent the body
is felt but not as a confining form so much as an instrument and
receptacle for this larger consciousness. Your description of the
experience is unmistakable. All the elements are there. What has
to happen is to get fixed in the wideness, freedom, stillness, peace

Ascent and Descent


of the consciousness above and for the Descent to continue till it
has fixed the higher power of being everywhere below - in the
body and in the subconscience below it and also all round the
body so that one lives enveloped in this new consciousness and
The experiences you relate mark a great progress - the passage
from the perception of the ascending Force to that of the descending Shakti. For the spiral coils of Light you saw and whose
effects you felt - the merging in silence and peace, the peace of
the Atman or the Brahman consciousness - are usually a first
effect, they are visual forms of the dynamic descent of the Divine
Force from above; also the passage from the realisation of the
static Brahman with the sense of the unreality of the worldexistence to the realisation of the status of the dynamic one.
This is a considerable step in the integral Yoga.
The Brahman consciousness is sometimes described as a
static one, but it has two aspects, static and dynamic, and it
is when both are united that it becomes integral. This is the
greater consciousness I speak of in the sentence quoted by you,
greater than either that which perceives the Brahmic silence and
immobility alone or that which perceives the cosmic existence
and action alone.

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1, #Letters On Yoga III, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object: - Experiences of Ascent and Descent
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

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