Discovering Our Hidden Secret Link To the Infinite

When mind-nature separates itself from the physical and vital preoccupations, it can begin to focus on and develop itself along the lines of the mental force in its native, pure form. This does not, in and of itself, overcome the natural tendencies of the physical and the vital levels of being. There can result several lines of action. One of these develops more or less pure forms of mental activity essentially divorced from life, action and the needs of the physical nature. Another attempts to bring about modifications to the life of the world through what is essentially a process of compromise, whereby mental principles are adapted and watered down such that they can have an influence and positive effect on the energies of life in the material world, while life processes are uplifted and transformed by this new, higher influence.

Sri Aurobindo recognizes the need to bring the mental influence into the world, “…for it is by that effort that he is man and not the animal and without it he cannot find his true satisfaction in living.”

At the same time, he also recognizes that mental nature, in order to fulfill its higher goals and aspirations, needs to begin to follow the principles inherent in mental nature for their own sake, and not solely for the impact they can have on a worldly life. “In other words he passes from the practical pursuit of a serviceable knowledge, morality, aesthesis, force of emotion and will-power,–serviceable for his vital aims, for life as it first is,–to an ideal pursuit of these things and the transformation of life into the image of his ideal.”

Eventually as this pursuit continues, and the higher principles become more clear and defined in their form, their native form and power are unveiled, and it becomes possible to recognize what Sri Aurobindo calls the secret of human life. “There is so a chance of his discovering that as the beauty and irrefragable order of life and matter are due to the joy of the Infinite in life and in matter and the fidelity of the Force here at work to the hidden knowledge and will and idea of the Self and Spirit in them, so there is within his hidden self, his own vast and covert spirit a secret of the Infinite’s self-knowledge, will, joy, love and delight, mastery, right and truth of joy and action by which his own greater life rising above the vital and mental limitations can discover an infinite perfection and beauty and delight in itself and spontaneous irrefragable order.”

Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section III, Chapter 16, The Higher Lines of Karma, pp. 144-145,

The Mental Being’s Adventure of Consciousness In Life

Humanity represents the development of a mental being active in the vital functions of life in the physical world. The first expressions of mentality are primarily focused on enhancing the experience of life, on achieving goals of success and rewards for mastering the physical and vital energies. However, this does not represent the essential nature of the mental being.

Sri Aurobindo describes the characteristics of mental nature: “The innate demand of the mental being is for mental experience, for the mind’s manifold strengths, its capacities, joys, growth, perfections, and for these things for their own sake because of the inevitable satisfaction they give to his nature,–the demand of the intellect for truth and knowledge, the demand of the ethical mind for right and good, the demand of the aesthetic mind for beauty and delight of beauty, the demand of the emotional mind for love and the joy of relation with our fellow-beings, the demand of the will for self-mastery and mastery of things and the world and our existence. And the values which the mental being holds for supreme and effective are the values of truth and knowledge, of right and good, of beauty and aesthetic delight, of love and emotional joy, of mastery and inner lordship. It is these things that he seeks to know and follow, to possess, discover, enjoy, increase. It is for this great adventure that he came into the world, to walk hardily through the endless fields they offer to him, to experiment, to dare, to test the utmost limit of each capacity and follow each possibility and its clue to the end as well as to observe in each its at present discovered law and measure.”

The foundation, basis and purpose of the mental being takes place outside the needs and demands of the physical being and the vital life of desire in the world. The mental sphere is the first one that can separate itself from the business of life and thus, is the first one that admits a true principle of morality or ethics not based on the negotiation implicit in the “reward and punishment” model. And thus, in terms of our review of the law of Karma, we may expect to see karmic consequence and returns on the mental plane that do not necessarily involve success or failure in terms of vital life rewards or physical well-being.

Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section III, Chapter 16, The Higher Lines of Karma, pp. 143-144,