The Role of the Psychic Being in the Integral Yoga

In order to both observe and manage the actions and reactions of the mind, life and body, it is necessary to achieve a standpoint outside of their action. Sri Aurobindo identifies the psychic being as the separate entity, what may be called the ‘soul’, as the consciousness capable of this separation and control. It is important to avoid the confusion engendered by the confused understanding of the term ‘psychic’ in the West.

Dr. Dalal notes: “It should be clear from the foregoing description of various psychological disturbances that, from the viewpoint of Integral Yoga, psychological health consists in emerging into a state of consciousness which is free from the disturbing influences of physical, vital, mental and subconscient parts of our being. It implies discovering and being in contact with a part of our being other than the physical, the vital and the mental. Integral Yoga speaks of several such parts of the being which are either behind or above the outer being of mind, vital and body. What looms large in the practice of Integral Yoga is the part of the being referred to as the psychic being. As the term ‘psychic’ is commonly used with different meanings, we quote below Sri Aurobindo’s explanations of the term as used in Integral Yoga.”

“The word psychic is used in English to indicate anything that is other or deeper than the external mind, life and body or it indicates sometimes anything occult or supraphysical; but that is a use which brings confusion and error and we have almost entirely to discard it.”

“What is meant in the terminology of the yoga by the psychic is the soul element in the nature, the pure psyche or divine nucleus which stands behind mind, life and body (it is not the ego) but of which we are only dimly aware. It is a portion of the Divine and permanent from life to life, taking the experience of life through its outer instruments. As this experience grows it manifests a developing psychic personality which insisting always on the good, true and beautiful, finally becomes ready and strong enough to turn the nature towards the Divine. It can then come entirely forward, breaking through the mental, vital and physical screen, govern the instincts and transform the nature. Nature no longer imposes itself on the soul, but the soul, the Purusha, imposes its dictates on the nature.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Introduction, Mental Health and Integral Yoga, pp. xxxii-xxxvii

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