The Silent Self and the Universal Intelligence and Action

We see everywhere around us, when we choose to observe, the signs of an Intelligence and Will at work that are not encompassed by the mental intelligence and will that we normally consider to be the moving forces of our actions. The atomic structure of Matter reveals an intelligent moving force. The inter-relations of all of Nature show an organization far more complex and detailed than anything the human mind can even imagine. It is thus not a far leap for us to gain the understanding that even our so-called independent mental activity and exercise of will is part of a larger universal action of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo observes that the Yogin may attain to a state of awareness that maintains an inner silence and passivity while at the same time, the universal Intelligence and Will act through the individual, and the awareness remains uninvolved and inactive as a witness. In such an instance the impulsion of knowledge and action comes from that universal Intelligence.

“But in this Yogic status of action by the mere organs…, it is the universal intelligence and will of Nature itself working from centres superconscious and subconscious as it acts in the mechanically purposeful energies of plant-life or of the inanimate material form, but here with a living instrument who is the conscious witness of the action and instrumentation. It is a remarkable fact that the speech, writing and intelligent actions of such a state may convey a perfect force of thought, luminous, faultless, logical, inspired, perfecting adapting means to ends, far beyond what the man himself could have done in his old normal poise of mind and will and capacity, yet all the time he himself perceives but does not conceive the thought that comes to him, observes in its works but does not appropriate or use the will that acts through him, witnesses but does not claim as his own the powers which play upon the world through him as through a passive channel. But this phenomenon is not really abnormal or contrary to the general law of things. For do we not see a perfect working of the secret universal Will and Intelligence in the apparently brute … action of material Nature? And it is precisely this universal Will and Intelligence which thus acts through the calm, indifferent and inwardly silent Yogin who offers no obstacle of limited and ignorant personal will and intelligence to its operations. He dwells in the silent Self; he allows the active Brahman to work through his natural instruments, accepting impartially, without participation, the formations of its universal force and knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 14, The Passive and the Active Brahman, pp. 388-389

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