Purification of the Nature: Negative and Positive Approaches

Ordinarily, when we reflect on addressing impurities in the nature, whether in the mind, the emotions, the vital nature or the physical body, we tend to fixate upon the weakness or limitation we have identified and work to directly control, change or suppress it. This is what may be termed a ‘negative’ approach to purification. A positive approach consists of building up the psychological force of peace which, in and of itself, prevents many of the disruptions that we otherwise would want to change or remove from our nature. The deeper the peace, the less the outer impulses can disrupt and disturb at all. Cultivating peace in the being is a progressive process over time. There can be a conscious effort to not react to the impulses that ordinarily would create a disturbance, and this may aid in the opening to the higher force as it descends from above and fills the being with the true peace that resides in those higher planes.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “It [purity] is more a condition than a substance. Peace helps to purify – since in peace disturbing influences cease and the essence of purity is to respond only to the Divine Influence and not to have an affinity with other movements.”

“If you get peace, then to clean the vital becomes easy. If you simply clean and clean and do nothing else, you go very slowly — for the vital gets dirty again and has to be cleaned a hundred times. The peace is something that is clean in itself, so to get it is a positive way of securing your object. To look for dirt only and clean is the negative way.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pg. 74

5 thoughts on “Purification of the Nature: Negative and Positive Approaches

  1. So true …. Sri Aurobindo has explained well,the motivational phrases used commonly today – “GOOD VIBES ONLY ” or VIBE HIGHER. I would like to know if he has elaborated on any methods/ practices ( other than meditation) to consciously build up the positive force of peace? Can we equate this to what patanjali mentions in the yoga sutras – dietary instructions etc to reduce Tamasic /Rajasic tendencies and build up Sattvic ones ? Thank you


    • Sri Aurobindo leaves much open to the individual sadhak as to specific methods that may be helpful. If a practitioner finds specific dietary regimens helpful, they should certainly use them; however, he does not place reliance on a strict set of rules or guidelines. The primary methodology that he has focused on is cultivating the separation of the witness consciousness from the active nature, and thereby gaining insight and leverage over the reactions of the nature. Additionally, the focus on the active aspiration, and the tuning of the consciousness toward the Divine rather than fixating on all the outer circumstances and issues, can bring both a sense of peace and through the connection thereby created, open the being to the force of peace that can be felt to actively descend into the being. In this sense, peace does not arise from the actions of the individual to enforce certain postures, diets, or meditations, but through opening, receptivity and the descent of the higher force. This is a concrete experience reported by many who have practiced the integral yoga. “Live Within: Be Not Shaken by Outward Happenings” is something that practitioners are reminded of constantly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks a ton for the clear explanation. True, surrender to the divine / active aspiration . Do you have any suggestions regarding which might be a better place / conducive environment for immersive study /assimilation ( stay of a week Or two ) of Sri Aurobindo’s works – Auroville Or Sri Aurobindo Ashram ? (Please feel free to ignore this doubt 🙂).


    • Auroville is a dynamic environment that is not specifically focused on study or contemplation. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a concentrated environment directly focused on the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I would therefore suggest that the Ashram meets your criteria more closely if you are intending to go for a week or two to study and immerse yourself in the works.

      Liked by 1 person

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