The Subconscient Basis of Our Individual Being, Part 4

As the individual works to understand the wellsprings of the motives, impulses and forces that rise up through his being in the subconscient and push him into action, a subtler understanding begins to develop. The need to distinguish between the inherited habits and embedded atavistic movements, the influence of the society and those who interact with one, and then distinguishing those impulses which arise due to the influence of vital beings attempting to gain some control or result from the individual drives this subtle understanding. The first distinguishing factor, for those who work through all the subtle energies to gain this understanding, is that the impulses that arise between and among individuals tend to be relatively similar, as we all share a common human heritage and background. Those impulses that arise from the vital beings can in many cases take forms that could only be considered foreign or strange in some way to the individual, uncharacteristic and not something normally experienced in day to day interactions. Thus, the influence of vital forces can be found out through this process of patient sifting of the energies and their impacts on the being.

Regardless of the source, when the individual takes up the process of yoga and determines to undertake the radical transformation of human nature, the process of patient observation, aspiration, and persistent efforts represents the way forward.

The Mother writes: “There it is a little easier to recognise the influence, for, if you are the least bit attentive, you become aware of something that has suddenly awakened within you. For example, those who are in the habit of losing their temper, if they have attempted ever so little to control their anger, they will find something coming from outside or rising from below which actually takes hold of their consciousness and arouses anger in them. I don’t mean that everybody is capable of this discernment; I am speaking of those who have tried to understand their being and control it. These adverse suggestions are easier to distinguish than, for instance, your response to the will or desire of a being who is of the same nature as yourself, another human being, who consequently acts on you without this giving you a clear impression of something coming from outside: the vibrations are too alike, too similar in their nature, and you have to be much more attentive and have a much sharper discernment to realise that these movements which seem to come out from you are not really yours but come from outside. But with the adverse forces, if you are in the least sincere and observe yourself attentively, you become aware that it is something in the being which is responding to an influence, an impulse, a suggestion, even something at times very concrete, which enters and produces similar vibrations in the being. … There now. That is the problem.”

“The remedy?… It is always the same: goodwill, sincerity, insight, patience — oh! an untiring patience and a perseverance which assures you that what you have not succeeded in doing today, you will succeed in doing another time, and makes you go on trying until you do succeed. … And this brings us back to Sri Aurobindo’s sentence if this control seems to you quite impossible today, well, that means that not only will it be possible, but that it will be realised later.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118


The Subconscient Basis of Our Individual Being, Part 3

There are realms that operate under different rules, or laws, than what we have come to expect here. Our earthly life is a complex amalgam of physical, vital, mental and psychic consciousness, and this mixture implies that none of these are able to express themselves in the purest sense of their own terms of existence and action. There are however realms where these powers are native and thus, have their complete expression without compromise. The physical body acts as a barrier, a restraint, and a protection from the direct operation of any of these other levels. The nearest realm to the physical is the vital. There are numerous accounts of individuals who have ‘left their body’ and travelled in what they call the astral realm, which is a vital world. The powers operative there, and their force of action, means that the individual must exercise tremendous caution to avoid injury.

It is not, however, solely a concern when an individual travels ‘outside the body’ to the vital realm. Rather, the forces of the vital realm also infiltrate and infuse themselves in various ways into the physical reality we inhabit. In these cases, they may provoke various actions or responses that ‘feed’ their hunger. Just as every being has its own natural food source, in the vital realm, the food is made up of vital energies and emotional reactions. Some beings act in this world to ‘farm’ humans for their food source in the form of intense energy releases, whether in the form of anger, hatred, lust, desire, greed, hunger, etc.

Most of this takes place through suggestions or pressures placed in the subconscious layers of our being, and then as these get triggered, the vital beings harvest the forces they were seeking. This adds another issue on top of our genetic, ancestral inheritance and the influence of the society and our peers on our thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions.

The Mother notes: “If that were the end of the problem, one could yet come out of the mess; but there is a complication. This terrestrial world, this human world is constantly invaded by the forces of the neigboring world, that is, of the vital world, the subtler region beyond the fourfold earth-atmosphere; (consisting of the four principles: physical, vital, mental and psychic), and this vital world which is not under the influence of the psychic forces or the psychic consciousness is essentially a world of ill-will, of disorder, disequilibrium, indeed of all the most anti-divine things one could imagine. This vital world is constantly penetrating the physical world, and being much more subtle than the physical, it is very often quite imperceptible except to a few rare individuals. There are entities, beings, wills, various kinds of individualities in that world, who have all kinds of intentions and make use of every opportunity either to amuse themselves if they are small beings or to do harm and create disorder if they are beings with a greater capacity. And the latter have a very considerable power of penetration and suggestion, and wherever there is the least opening, the least affinity, they rush in, for it is a game which delights them.”

“Besides, they are very thirsty or hungry for certain human vital vibrations which for them are a rare dish they love to feed upon; and so their game lies in exciting pernicious movements in man so that man may emanate these forces and they be able to feed on them just as they please. All movements of anger, violence, passion, desire, all these things which make you abruptly throw off certain energies from yourself, project them from yourself, are exactly what these entities of the vital world like best, for, as I said, they enjoy them like a sumptuous dish. Now, their tactics are simple: they send you a little suggestion, a little impulse, a small vibration which enters deep into you and through contagion or sympathy awakens in you the vibration necessary to make you throw off the force they want to absorb.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118

The Subconscious Basis of Our Individual Being, Part 2

As if the genetic, prenatal and neonatal influence, and the habits and customs of the society into which one is born is not sufficient burden to have to deal with as it rises up from the subconscient levels of our being, we also have to address the current influences provided through peer pressure, interactions with others on a daily basis and the mental and vital force exerted by those with whom we come into contact. Many people have come to appreciate that being in the presence of certain individuals is draining on their energy. In other cases, one feels an intense pressure, which may be mental, emotional or vital when one is around certain people. In other instances, after a meeting with a particular individual, one may suddenly have a strong craving for food or drink. What occurs here is that the subconscient exchange of energies impinges on one’s subconscious being, and triggers an inner response. Note that the response may not exactly correspond to the specific feeling conveyed by the individual with whom one has been interacting, as it is triggering something already embedded in the being. Thus, interacting with someone who is greedy for money in a very intense way, may not trigger greed for money, but may raise up some other form of desire, such as food. For those who are extraordinarily insightful and clear, the actual force working in the other individual can be noted and understood, but in most cases, these things happen without direct awareness, and many people simply do not associate the later rising up of some felt need, desire or pressure as having been a direct consequence of the earlier interaction.

When an individual visits a party or perhaps a nightclub or other venue where vital desires and impulses are active and energies are high, there may be a reaction of lowered inhibitions, a rising up of various lower vital energies, such as sexual desire, and the atmosphere can feel like it is permeated by those forces. Individuals who are sensitive can quickly pick up the ‘vibration’ of a particular situation in this way by seeing what energies are being provoked and what rises up internally, even if they have control themselves over expression of the impulse. The impressions so created may also not rise immediately if there is conscious control being exercised, but may come up in dreams when the conscious control is loosened.

On a more subtle level, some individuals use their vital force to try to overpower or intimidate or bully others. They create such an intensity in the atmosphere that people feel like they are being palpably attacked. This is another sign of the subtle, and subconscious, action of vital energies that are stirred by those with whom we have any interaction.

The Mother observes: “You live surrounded by people. These people themselves have desires, stray wishes, impulses which are expressed through them and have all kinds of causes, but take in their consciousness an individual form. For example, to put it in very practical terms: you have a father, a mother, brothers, sisters, friends, comrades; each one has his own way of feeling, willing, and all those with whom you are in relation expect something from you, even as you expect something from them. That something they do not always express to you, but it is more or less conscious in their being, and it makes formations. These formations, according to each one’s capacity of thought and the strength of his vitality, are more or less powerful, but they have their own little strength which is usually much the same as yours; and so what those around you want, desire, hope or expect from you enters in this way in the form of suggestions very rarely expressed, but which you absorb without resistance and which suddenly awaken within you a similar desire, a similar will, a similar impulse…. This happens from morning to night, and again from night to morning, for these things don’t stop while you are sleeping, but on the contrary are very often intensified because your consciousness is no longer awake, watching and protecting you to some extent.”

“And this is quite common, so common that it is quite natural and so natural that you need special circumstances and most unusual occasions to become aware of it. Naturally, it goes without saying that your own responses, your own impulses, your own wishes have a similar influence on others, and that all this becomes a marvellous mixture in which might is always right!”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118

The Subconscious Basis of Our Individual Being, Part 1

We tend to not only identify with the values of our family, our country, our religion, but we also internalize the standpoint taken by them, so that we view situations, actions and reactions, and history through the lens of this standpoint. This of course can create a highly biased viewpoint of affairs, such as when the Europeans brutally enslaved, colonized and sucked out the wealth of developing countries and justified it by the idea that they were “bringing civilisation” to these backwards parts of the world! Even today, most Europeans and their American descendants, believe this to have been the case, despite massive evidence of the falsity of this view on many levels. Similarly, some religious denominations feel it is their mission to ‘convert’ people to their religion (or destroy them if they refuse to convert), and they have undertaken extreme activities, including brutality, ripping chlldren away from their families and forcing them into boarding schools, where their culture, language and traditions were suppressed, and children were hazed and beaten into submission.

These may be some of the most visible and egregious types of examples, but they illustrate how people ordinarily can accept the viewpoint they inherit with their birth into a particular life, no matter how visibly brutal and inhumane that viewpoint actually turns out to be.

Much more subtle, and therefore, much less subject to internal review, are the innumerable ways the culture reflects on our ways of seeing, thinking, acting, framing issues and ideas, and the types of development we are willing to undertake. This also includes our ways of treating other people, how we relate to children, how we relate to each other, and may include subtle pressures to conform to racist, sexist or similar viewpoints in our day to day lives, demeaning others, bullying or simply accepting actions that deny others equal access and rights through systemic processes that we simply accept as being the ‘natural order’ of things.

When one sees people ‘waving the flag’ under the idea of ‘my country, right or wrong’, or ‘my religion is better than someone else’s religion’, it is a clear indicator of these subconscious influences coloring their view. Each one of us carries these subconscious influences within ourselves and at some point, to become free and able to see things based on an undistorted view, we must become aware of these subconscious forms of bias and coloration and take steps to eliminate them from our vision and our action.

The Mother writes: “When a being is born upon earth, he is inevitably born in a certain country and a certain environment. Due to his physical parents he is born in a set of social, cultural, national, sometimes religious circumstances, a set of habits of thinking, of understanding, of feeling, conceiving, all sorts of constructions which are at first mental, then become vital habits and finally material modes of being. To put things more clearly, you are born in a certain society or religion, in a particular country, and this society has a collective conception of its own and this nation has a collective conception of its own, this religion has a collective ‘construction’ of its own which is usually very fixed. You are born into it. Naturally, when you are very young, you are altogether unaware of it, but it acts on your formation — that formation, that slow formation through hours and hours, through days and days, experiences added to experiences, which gradually builds up a consciousness. You are underneath it as beneath a bell-glass. It is a kind of construction which covers and in a way protects you, but in other ways limits you considerably. All this you absorb without even being aware of it and this forms the subconscious basis of your own construction. This subconscious basis will act on you throughout your life, if you do not take care to free yourself from it. And to free yourself from it, you must first of all become aware of it; and the first step is the most difficult, for this formation was so subtle, it was made when you were not yet a conscious being, when you had just fallen altogether dazed from another world into this one (laughing) and it all happened without your participating in the least in it. Therefore, it does not even occur to you that there could be something to know there, and still less something you must get rid of. And it is quite remarkable that when for some reason or other you do become aware of the hold of this collective suggestion, you realise at the same time that a very assiduous and prolonged labour is necessary in order to get rid of it. But the problem does not end there.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118

Observing the Inherited and Environmental Influences on One’s Character from the Standpoint of the Psychic Being

When the individual is able to shift out of the standpoint of the ego-personality to that of the soul, the psychic being, he is able to observe and trace the influences of inherited tendencies or environmental pressures that bubble up from the subconscient and try to gain admittance and acceptance into his active outer nature. The tendencies are as clearly defined as when one sees a physical resemblance between a mother and a daughter or father and son! The individual can see more than physical characteristics, however, including vital responses, habits of emotion, habits of speech, and habits of mind. The individual can also trace out the sources of other influences that come from family, friends, relations, as well as the community, the educational system and the very force of the time and its wider pressures.

The psychic being also has the ability to attract to it the needed circumstances for the soul’s purpose in this lifetime to be fulfilled. People speak of coincidence. When the soul is active, the coincidence, the synchronicity, are part of a process of the soul bringing to itself those energies and events that it needs in order to develop. Sometimes these things may even appear to be negative events if the outer personality is stuck, while the soul demands change…..

The soul can see patterns, relationships, and active forces from this new light and does not take things personally as the ego-personality tends to do. Life, seen from this standpoint, is a miraculous concatenation of energies moving towards a sense of universal oneness and inclusion. The individual no longer is oppressed by the old habits, traditions and ways of doing things, but is liberated through this knowledge. Those things that are useful can be kept and modified; those that are obsolete or counter-productive can be eliminated.

The Mother observes: “If you have within you a psychic being sufficiently awake to watch over you, to prepare your path, it can draw towards you things which help you, draw people, books, circumstances, all sorts of little coincidences which come to you as though brought by some benevolent will and give you an indication, a help, a support to take decisions and turn you in the right direction. But once you have taken this decision, once you have decided to find the truth of your being, once you start sincerely on the road, then everything seems to conspire to help you to advance, and if you observe carefully, you see gradually the source of your difficulties: ‘Ah! wait a minute, this failing was in my father; oh! this habit was my mother’s; oh! my grandmother was like this, my grandfather was like that’ or it could well be the nurse who took care of you when you were small, or brothers and sisters who played with you, the little friends you met, and you will find that all this was there, in this person or that or the other. But if you continue to be sincere, you find you can cross all this quite calmly, and after a time you cut all the moorings with which you were born, break the chains and go freely on the path.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118

Our Subconscient Inheritance

We pride ourselves on our independence and self-sufficiency. We believe that we make conscious choices that are ‘our own’ choices. We do not generally recognise that who we are today, and what choices we tend to make, are very much conditioned by and even controlled by influences from the past. The Buddhist concept of ‘dependent origination’ describes this intertwined relationship between the present and the past. There is a built-in genetic inheritance that provides much of the framework for the mind, life and body that we inhabit in our lifetimes, and thereby controls many events. Capacities, and incapacities take on an important role in determining how we proceed through our lives. But the inheritance does not stop with our DNA. We also inherit ways of seeing and reacting from parents, extended family, our community, our society and our educational system. Traditions, cultural folkways, prejudices and predilections all influence our ‘free choice’ at every moment. We are of course also influenced by current circumstances, information flow, etc. which are all formed based on the common past that we share with the others with whom we interact, closely or at a distance, in the society. There is also the inheritance that stems from our prenatal programming through the thoughts, feelings, experiences, consumed media and its impacts, diet, hormonal releases, illnesses, stresses and drug intakes of our mothers, and the post-natal impacts of the mix of hormones, drugs and other substances imbibed through breast milk, along with the feelings, thoughts and energies experienced by our mothers in that crucial period.

Embedded also in the DNA are the past evolutionary drives. We can see this in the animal kingdom where animals repeat patterns that were not specifically taught by their parents or community/clan. Monarch butterflies for instance take four generations to make their circuit from Central America to Canada and back, yet they fly the same route, land in the same areas, eat the same foods, from generation to generation without a conscious education taking place from the older to the younger generation. Human beings also carry similar atavistic forms of knowledge into their lives, which govern actions and reactions that have been turned into deeply embedded habits in all human beings.

People simply do not realise how deeply programmed we are by the time we reach a point in our lives when we believe we can make our own decisions and exercise our free will. All of these influences from the past, reside in the subconscient realms of our being, and from there they remain as impressions, frequently released into action when triggered by an event or circumstance that touches that unseen, hidden part of our being.

The Mother writes: “One is born with a slough to clean before one begins to live. And once you have made a good start on the way to the inner transformation and you go down to the subconscient root of the being — that exactly which comes from parents, from atavism — well, you do see what it is! and all, almost all difficulties are there, there are very few things added to existence after the first years of life. This happens at any odd moment; if you keep bad company or read bad books, the poison may enter you; but there are all the imprints deep-rooted in the subconscient, the dirty habits you have and against which you struggle. For instance, there are people who can’t open their mouth without telling a lie and they don’t always do this deliberately (that is the worst of it), or people who can’t come in touch with others without quarreling, all sorts of stupidities — they are there in the subconscient, deeply rooted. Now, when you have a goodwill, externally you do your best to avoid all that, to correct it if possible; you work, you fight; then become aware that this thing always keeps coming up, it comes up from some part which escapes your control. But if you enter this subconscient, if you let your consciousness infiltrate it, and look carefully, gradually you will discover all the sources, all the origins of all your difficulties; then you will begin to understand what your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers were, and if at a certain moment you are unable to control yourself, you will understand, ‘I am like that because they were like that.’ “

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Collective Subconscious Influences, pp. 111-118

The Process of Effecting Change in Character

The character we exhibit today is a result of the past, whether we start from the underlying habitual patterns of human nature, or perhaps even go back farther to the patterns of the vital animal nature. Much of this is actually built into the genetic framework of the being, but layered on top of this is are the learned behaviors through socializing and through education, and then comes life experience, and the pressures exerted upon the life by the conditions of the outer world and impacts and influences from the environmental consciousness, all of which together creates the individual personality and character as we recognise it today. While this is created by the soul’s specific need of experience of a certain type, the development and functioning of the external being is very much a product of these forces. This layered complexity is a primary reason why people believe that human nature, or the basic character of the individual, cannot be realistically changed to any great degree. We may add a veneer of culture, or cultivation on the surface, but the underlying character remains what it was.

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, however, have shown a way that this bedrock of character can indeed be changed. The process is painstaking, systematic and takes time. Taking the standpoint of the witness consciousness observing the nature of the being, the Purusha is able to disassociate from the outer nature, so that there is not an implicit acceptance of the framework that is in place. Then there is the exercise of a steady, patient and persistent will to change. Following up on this, specific key reactions are observed and modified over time.

There is an ancient legend about a great sage who was supposedly a dacoit, a highwayman or thief. At one point, to escape detection, he pretended to be a renunciate sage, living in the forest and practicing meditation and other spiritual disciplines. He did this for so long, that he lost all his motivation and urge to be a thief, and transformed his nature into that of an enlightened wise soul. This may or may not be a historical fact, but it does speak to something that we can relate to; namely, that awareness, focused attention and consistent action can change one’s life. In today’s world, we see cases where individuals who have been extremely obese and out of shape decided to change their lives, and took up a program of diet, exercise and positive affirmations and succeeded in transforming their body, their vital energy and their mental focus.

The Mother observes: “First of all one must be conscious, then control, and by continuing the mastery one changes one’s character. Changing the character is what comes last. One must control bad habits, the old habits, for a very long time for them to drop off and the character to change.”

“We may take the example of someone who has frequent depressions. When things are not exactly as he would like them to be, he becomes depressed. So, to begin with, he must become aware of his depression — not only of the depression but of the causes of depression, why he gets depressed so easily. Then, once he has become conscious, he must master the depressions, must stop being depressed even when the cause of depression is there — he must master his depression, stop it from coming. And finally, after this work has been done for a sufficiently long time, the nature loses the habit of having depressions and no longer reacts the same way, the nature is changed.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Subconscient Habits, pp. 110-111

Programming the Subconscient to Modify Habits

While we tend to place a negative connotation on ‘habits’, in fact, habits are an important part of the action of the being, particularly of the physical being. We see times and seasons in Nature that repeat themselves, and we see animal life surviving through patterns and habits that they have developed over time. Human beings have sleep and waking cycles as well as general times for taking food that represent physical habits deeply ingrained in human activity. We can measure changes in the energy cycles and hormone release cycles to identify that these patterns are generally operative.

Repetition has a power that can help turn an idea into a reality. We find that training the body, the vital being and the mind to use patterns, habits of action constructively, can yield tremendous results. Physical training is one such aspect where development of ‘muscle memory’ and other trained habitual responses can save one’s life as well as help an individual accomplish great feats of athletic prowess or endurance.

It is possible to tap into the power of the subconscient through systematic programming of the subconscient. There are numerous techniques which have come to the forefront in recent times to accomplish this, including the power of positive affirmations, training regimens, meditation, mantra and breathing practices, etc.

These practices can aid in removal of unwanted or unneeded obsolete habits and build in new habits that are aligned with the current needs of the being.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The subconscient is the support of habitual action — it can support good habits as well as bad.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, Subconscient Habits, pp. 110-111

The Process and Steps of Ridding the Nature of Habitual Movements

Some believe that it is impossible to change human nature. They repeat the proverb that one cannot straighten out a dog’s tail, but it will return to its former status time and again. Some become frustrated and essentially fight with their body, vital being or mind, wherever the movement they desire to change resides. Some try to suppress the movement with force, and some through intimidation of torturing the body when an impulse arises which they do not want to accept. The hair shirt, the celise, the self-flagellation all arise out of the attempt to change human nature with violence, impatience and overpowering force. The sad thing is, these methods simply do not work, and cannot effectuate long-term real change in human nature. In many instances this leads either to depression, or turns the individual into a cold, bitter, frustrated personality who takes out his own failings on others, as he cannot deal with them as he wishes within himself. There seems to be no way out, and thus, eventually people believe human nature cannot change.

Sri Aurobindo takes a different approach. He first observes the field closely and determines in what part of the being, and under what force of impulsion the habitual movement has arisen. Then it is a matter of applying skillful means to systematically tackle the issue and make it ever less relevant to the being. Through a change of focus toward the higher realisations one is seeking, the power of any habitual movement can be reduced in both its level of occurrence and its intensity of occurrence. The mind, the mental will, can be harnessed to deny the movement full expression. This may not succeed all at once, but over time, with patient and persistent will, it eventually can, and does, succeed. The movement may remain embedded in the vital being or even in the physical being with a somewhat automatic response to a stimuli, and thus, may recur at some time when least expected simply because the guard has been reduced with the apparent success. Continued effort then drives these impulses into the subconscient layers, and from there they can erupt from time to time or at the very least, make themselves known in the dream state. The practice of psychotherapy attempts to open up what is hidden in the subconscient, but for the most part, this simply empowers these impulses and thus, may be highly counter-productive.

People believe that if they gain control over the impulses within their own individual being, that they have solved the issue, but in fact, the oneness of the energetic forces of the universal creation implies that until the movement is eliminated throughout all of Nature, it still has its existence and can attempt to infect the individual from there on any suitable occasion.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “When a habitual movement long embedded in the nature is cast out, it takes refuge in some less enlightened part of the nature, and when cast out of the rest of the nature, it takes refuge in the subconscient and from there surges up when you least expect it or comes up in dreams or sudden inconscient movements or it goes out and remains in wait in the environmental being through which the universal Nature works and attacks from there as a force from outside trying to recover its kingdom by a suggestion or repetition of old movements. One has to stand fast till the power of return fades away. These returns or attacks must be regarded not as parts of oneself, but as invasions — and rejected without allowing any depression or discouragement. If the mind does not sanction them, if the vital refuses to welcome them, if the physical remains steady and refuses to obey the physical urge, then the recurrence of the thought, the vital impulse, the physical feeling will begin to lose its last holds and finally they will be too feeble to cause any trouble.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Disturbances of the Subconscient, How to Deal with the Subconscient, pp. 108-109

Parental State of Consciousness at Time of Conception Impacts the Child’s Development

We tend to blame, accuse and punish a child for wild tendencies, without generally recognising that the child is the product of a number of factors, including samskaras from past lives, environmental influences, diet, pollution, celestial energies, societal expectations and acculturation, genetics, and parental energies which are the first and closest influence on the prenatal state. Once the child is born, all of the other factors take on a larger role, but the entire gestational period, from time of conception, exerts its influence on the developing child. The psychological state and energy active at the time of conception itself can have an influence that is generally unrecognised.

Dr. Dalal observes: “More concealed disturbances which are related to the subconscient are the prenatal influences of the parents on the infant. The state of consciousness of the parents at the time of conception is regarded in yoga psychology as a powerful factor that underlies the physical, intellectual and characterological defects and deficiencies which a child may manifest. In response to a question whether the wickedness found in some children is due to the fact that the parents did not wish to have the children, the Mother makes certain emphatic and categorical statements regarding the subconscient influence of the parents on the new-born.

She says: “It is perhaps a subconscious wickedness in the parents. It is said that people throw out their wickedness from themselves by giving it birth in their children. One has always a shadow in oneself. There are people who project this outside — that does not always free them from it, but still perhaps it comforts them! But it is the child who ‘profits’ by it, don’t you see? It is quite evident that the state of consciousness in which the parents are at that moment [of conception] is of capital importance. If they have very low and vulgar ideas, the children will reflect them quite certainly. And all these children who are ill-formed, ill-bred, incomplete (specially from the point of view of intelligence: with holes, things missing), children who are only half-conscious and half-formed — this is always due to the fault of the state of consciousness in which the parents were when they conceived the child. Even as the state of consciousness of the last moments of life is of capital importance for the future of the one who is departing, so too the state of consciousness in which the parents are at the moment of conception gives a sort of stamp to the child, which it will reflect throughout its life. So, these are apparently such little things — the mood of the moment, the moment’s aspiration or degradation, anything whatsoever, everything that takes place at a particular moment — it seems to be so small a thing, and it has so great a consequence: it brings into the world a child who is incomplete or wicked or finally a failure. And people are not aware of that.”

“Later, when the child behaves nastily, they scold it. But they should be scolding themselves, telling themselves: ‘In what a horrible state of consciousness must I have been when I brought that child into the world.’ For it is truly that.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Introduction, The Subconscient and Its Disturbances, pp. xxvii-xxxii