Knowledge and Will Transform the Lower Nature

Sri Aurobindo now focuses on the process that occurs to effect the ascent and integration recently discussed as the method of the yoga of Nature. He points out that each manifested level has its own native intensity of action which is more focused and intense than when that same level is taken up as a basis for the next succeeding level. So for instance, the vital sensational life of the plant is apparently more intense than the vital sensational life of the animal or man. The research done by Dr. Bose that led to the study The Secret Life of Plants shows how intensely plants experience vital sensations. When we come to mankind, with the appearance of the intellect, we find the focus on the vital-life and sense-mind becomes less intense. We know for instance that animals tend to have, depending on their specific make-up, a stronger sense of smell, a keener sense of sight or hearing, indicating a more intense life in that frame of existence.

Each level as it manifests, takes up the prior level, but reduces the focus on that level and moves the focus of consciousness to the new level. In humanity, this focus is the higher mind of the intellect. “This downward eye of knowledge and will with a view to an all-round heightening, deepening and subtler, finer and richer intensification is the secret Spirit’s way from the beginning.”

“Man, looking downward from the plane of will and intelligence, abandons these lower intensities, but in order to get out of mind and life and sense a higher intensity in other values, intellectual, aesthetic, moral, spiritual, mentally dynamic or practical,–as he terms it; by these higher elements he enlarges, subtilises and elevates his use of life-values. He does not abandon the animal reactions and enjoyments, but more lucidly, finely and sensitively mentalises them. This he does even on his normal and his lower levels, but, as he develops, he puts his lower being to a severer test, begins to demand from it on pain of rejection something like a transformation: that is the mind’s way of preparing for a spiritual life still beyond it.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 18, The Evolutionary Process — Ascent and Integration