Major Subdivisions of the Primary Parts of the Being

The more one examines the play of awareness and activity internally, the more one begins to recognise the subtle interactions that take place between the various parts of the being. There are not clear borderlines but rather influences and actions that are based primarily in one part of the being, but have characteristics from one of the other parts. As one begins to recognise this level of detail of the internal landscape, there is an increasing power of understanding and modification that comes with it.

Dr. Dalal notes; “Since the various parts of the being are interconnected, they interact on one another, resulting in distinguishable subdivisions within each part of the being. Thus, besides the mind proper, there is a part of the mind which is interfused with the vital, called the vital mind. There is also a part of the mind which is interfused with the physical, called the physical mind. Similar subdivisions exist within the vital and the physical. Three of these various subdivisions are particularly relevant to the subject-matter of this compilation, and are described below. Three of these subdivisions are: the physical mind, the vital mind and the vital physical.”

“The physical mind is the aspect of the mind which partakes of the characteristics of the physical consciousness. Some of the chief characteristics of the physical, namely, inertia, the tendency to act mechanically like an automaton, repetitiveness, constriction and chaotic activity are reflected in the physical mind in the form of mental torpor, doubt, obscurity, confusion, mechanical reactions to things and habitual modes of thinking. The part of the physical mind which is closest to the physical is referred to as the mechanical mind; it acts like a machine that goes on turning round and round whatever thoughts occur in it.”

“The vital mind is influenced by vital forces and movements, and therefore cannot think freely and independently of such influences as the thinking mind can do. The function of the vital mind is not to think or reason, but to dream and imagine, whether it is about success or failure, enjoyment or suffering, good fortune or ill fortune.”

“The vital physical refers to the part of the physical that is intermixed with the vital. It is this part that is involved in the reactions of the nerves and the reflexive sensations and feelings. It is also the agent of pain.”

“From the viewpoint of Integral Yoga, each part of the outer being has certain inherent psychological disturbances. The following sections delineate the disturbances associated with each of the different parts mentioned above.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Introduction, Subdivisions of Parts of the Being, pp. xiii-xiv


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