We tend to believe that if we adopt an idea or an emotional stance, that we have made a change to our nature and that we are then “spiritual”. Sri Aurobindo points out that we are actually made up of a number of complex parts of our being, sourced from one of the major principles of manifestation, body, vital force, mind, and that as a result of this complexity, we do not accomplish the result simply by “thinking” it or emotionally attaching ourselves to it. The physical being, the vital being, the mental being all have their own drives and impulsions and they in many cases do not accept or adopt the spiritual focus of the highest parts. This can lead to a lot of confusion, disturbance, and failure along the way.
Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that the supramental descent and the subsequent transformations it brings about requires that all the parts of the being participate and come under the direction of this highest aspiration and surrender. “The surrender must be total and seize all the parts of the being. It is not enough that the psychic should respond and the higher mental accept or even the inner vital submit and the inner physical consciousness feel the influence. There must be in no part of the being, even the most external, anything that makes a reserve, anything that hides behind doubts, confusions and subterfuges, anything that revolts or refuses.”
“If part of the being surrenders, but another part reserves itself, follows its own way or makes its own conditions, then each time that that happens, you are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you.”
We see numerous examples through history where a spiritual aspiration has been derailed by the uprising of one or more of the lower parts of the being, demanding its own form of expression and fulfillment, or hijacking the force for ego-aggrandisement at one of these lower levels. This has led in particular to the attempts to satisfy desires for power, wealth and sex through some kind of “spiritual” practices, and has led not a few astray along the way.