THE SELF – THE WAY – SRI AUROBINDO
To realize Self is to realize the eternal
freedom of the spirit.
The first realization of the Self as something intensely silent and purely static is not the whole truth of it. There can also be a realization of the Self in its power.
Establishing the mind in the Self means the conviction that the self alone
is all, and that there is nothing other than it.
As ones process deepens, the pervasive sense of coolness and calmness shows that the consciousness is reorienting itself at a deeper level of the being.
Joy and happiness not dependent upon outward things begins to manifest. One becomes aware that he is acted through and totally dependent upon the Divine.
This realization and accompanying release into peace and happiness
is spoken of as liberation and carries with it the value
of being released from jail.
One begins to feel that the ordinary consciousness is something quite external and on the surface. It does not seem to be ones real self.
This concealed self and consciousness is our real or whole being,
of which the outer is a part and a phenomenon,
a selective formation for a surface use.
He is a centre only—a centre of differentiation of the one personal consciousness, a centre of determination of the one total movement; his personality reflects in a wave of persistent individuality the one universal Person, the Transcendent, the Eternal.
In the Ignorance it is always a broken and distorted reflection because the crest
of the wave which is our conscious waking self throws back only
an imperfect and falsified similitude of the divine Spirit.
One might almost say that our surface being is only the deeper eternal Self in us throwing itself out as the adventurer in Time, a gambler and speculator in infinite possibilities,
limiting itself to the succession of moments so that it may have
all the surprise and delight of the adventure,
keeping back its self-knowledge and complete self-being so that it may win again what it seems to have lost,
reconquering all itself through the chequered joy and pain of an aeonic
passion and seeking and endeavour.
This first realisation of Self as something intensely silent and purely static is not the whole truth of it,
there can also be a realisation of Self in its power, Self as the condition
of world-activity and world-existence.
However, the Self is a fundamental aspect of Brahman, but with a certain stress on its impersonality; therefore the Power of the Self has the appearance of a Force that acts automatically with the Self sustaining it, witness and support and originator and enjoyer of its activities but not involved in them for a moment.
As soon as we become aware of the Self, we are conscious of it as eternal, unborn, unembodied, uninvolved in its workings: it can be felt within the form of being, but also as enveloping it, as above it, surveying its embodiment from above, adhyaksa;
it is omnipresent, the same in everything, infinite
and pure and intangible for ever.
This Self can be experienced as the Self of the individual, the Self of the thinker, doer, enjoyer, but even so it always has this greater character; its individuality is at the same time a vast universality or very readily passes into that,
and the next step to that is a sheer transcendence or a complete
and ineffable passing into the Absolute.
The Self is that aspect of the Brahman in which it is intimately felt as at once individual, cosmic, transcendent of the universe. The realisation of the Self is the straight and swift way towards individual liberation, a static universality, a Nature-transcendence.
At the same time there is a realisation of Self in which it is felt not only sustaining and pervading and enveloping all things, but constituting everything and identified in a free identity with all its becomings in Nature.
Even so, freedom and impersonality are always
the character of the Self.
There is no appearance of subjection to the workings of its own Power in the universe, such as the apparent subjection of the Purusha to Prakriti.
To realise the Self is to realise the eternal
freedom of the Spirit.
And it is only in ourselves that we can observe and know the process of the Self in its becoming and follow the process by which it draws back into self-being.
But for the knowledge of the Self
it is necessary to have the power of a complete intellectual passivity, the power
of dismissing all thought, the power of the mind to think not at all
which the Gita in one passage enjoins.
In the spiritual knowledge of self, there are three steps of its self-achievement which are at the same time three parts of the one knowledge.
The first is the discovery of the soul, not the outer soul of thought
and emotion and desire, but the secret psychic entity,
the divine element within us.
When that becomes dominant over the nature, when we are consciously the soul and when mind, life and body take their true place as its instruments, we are aware of a guide within that knows the truth, the good, the true delight and beauty of existence, controls heart and intellect by its luminous law and leads our life and being towards spiritual completeness.
Even within the obscure workings of the Ignorance
we have then a witness who discerns, a living light that illumines, a will
that refuses to be misled and separates the mind’s truth
from its error, the heart’s intimate response
from its vibrations to a wrong call and wrong demand upon it, the life’s true ardor and plenitude of movement from vital passion and the turbid falsehoods of our vital nature and its dark self-seeking. This is the first step of self-realization, to enthrone the soul, the divine psychic individual in the place of the ego.
The next step is to become aware of the eternal self in us unborn
and one with the self of all beings. This self-realization
liberates and universalises;
even if our action still proceeds in the dynamics of the Ignorance, it no longer binds or misleads because our inner being is seated in the light of self-knowledge.
The third step is to know the Divine Being who is at once our supreme transcendent Self, the Cosmic Being, foundation
of our universality, and the Divinity within
of which our psychic being, the true evolving individual in our nature, is a portion, a spark, a flame growing into the eternal Fire from which it was lit and of which it is the witness ever living within us and the conscious instrument of its light and power and joy and beauty.