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The Psychic Being

The Psychic Being

A very important concept in Sri Aurobindo's yoga is the principle of the being known as the "Psychic Being". This is not found in any other Indian teaching (where the emphasis is instead on the realisation of the Universal Self or Atman), although it is referred to sometimes in Western esotericism, especially Theosophy. The Psychic Being is the individual Divine Soul, the Higher Self within that grows and develops through successive lifetimes, and which dwells symbolically?) in the Heart (or Heart-chakra). It is also the key to the spiritual transformation.

Direct equivalents can be found as mentioned in Theosophy are the Upper Manas or Immortal Ego of Madame Blavatsky, and the Higher Triad of Alice A. Bailey.

There are also strong similarities with the Soul in later Neoplatonism (perhaps Iamblichus but more especially Proclus), the Neshamah (Divine Soul which derives from the World of Beriah) in Kabbalah (but not the Lurianic form?), and the psychogogue of Jung. The Atma-Buddhi-Manas or Ego in Steiner's Anthroposophy seems to be a combination or confusion of several concepts.

Psychic Being (Soul: Its Nature, Mission, Evolution) - link to Amazon com
Psychic Being (Soul: Its Nature, Mission, Evolution)
by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother - Lotus Press 1990 - from the publisher's blurb:

The present compilation is an attempt to bring together in one volume themanifold teachings pertaining to the psychic being which are to be found in the numerous works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. The selections deal with thenature of the psychic being, shedding the light of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on the inner constitution of the human being and on various related questions such as the process of inner growth, the afterlife, and rebirth.

I haven't seen this book but I understand it is based on compilations and passages gleaned from the various collected works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. As such, it would be an important reference for anyone intersted in accessing the original and profound source material on this subject.

The following summary is from Growth Online [ref external link The Makeup of the Individual Human - The Personal Evolving Soul (the Psychic Being) - posted 29 July 04 or thereabouts]:

Psychic Being

(The Personal Evolving Soul)

Some quotes now from Sri Aurobindo

"The true soul secret in us, -- subliminal, we have said, but the word is misleading, for this presence is not situated below the threshold of waking mind, but rather burns in the temple of the inmost heart behind the thick screen of an ignorant mind, life and body, not subliminal but behind the veil, -- this veiled psychic entity is the flame of the Godhead always alight within us, inextinguishable even by that dense unconsciousness of any spiritual self within which obscures our outward nature.

It is a flame born out of the Divine and, luminous inhabitant of the Ignorance, grows in it till it is able to turn it towards the Knowledge.

It is the concealed Witness and Control, the hidden Guide, the Daemon of Socrates, the inner light or inner voice of the mystic.

It is that which endures and is imperishable in us from birth to birth, untouched by death, decay or corruption, an indestructible spark of the Divine.

Not the unborn Self or Atman, for the Self even in presiding over the existence of the individual is aware always of its universality and transcendence, it is yet its deputy in the forms of Nature, the individual soul, caitya purusa, supporting mind, life and body, standing behind the mental, the vital, the subtle-physical being in us and watching and profiting by their development and experience.

These other person-powers in man, these beings of his being, are also veiled in their true entity, but they put forward temporary personalities which compose our outer individuality and whose combined superficial action and appearance of status we call ourselves: this inmost entity also, taking form in us as the psychic Person, puts forward a psychic personality which changes, grows, develops from life to life; for this is the traveller between birth and death and between death and birth, our nature parts are only its manifold and changing vesture.

The psychic being can at first exercise only a concealed and partial and indirect action through the mind, the life and the body, since it is these parts of Nature that have to be developed as its instruments of self-expression, and it is long confined by their evolution. Missioned to lead man in the Ignorance towards the light of the Divine Consciousness, it takes the essence of all experience in the Ignorance to form a nucleus of soul-growth in the nature; the rest it turns into material for the future growth of the instruments which it has to use until they are ready to be a luminous instrumentation of the Divine.

It is this secret psychic entity which is the true original Conscience in us deeper than the constructed and conventional conscience of the moralist, for it is this which points always towards Truth and Right and Beauty, towards Love and Harmony and all that is a divine possibility in us, and persists till these things become the major need of our nature. It is the psychic personality in us that flowers as the saint, the sage, the seer; when it reaches its full strength, it turns the being towards the Knowledge of Self and the Divine, towards the supreme Truth, the supreme Good, the supreme Beauty, Love and Bliss, the divine heights and largenesses, and opens us to the touch of spiritual sympathy, universality, oneness.

On the contrary, where the psychic personality is weak, crude or ill-developed, the finer parts and movements in us are lacking or poor in character and power, even though the mind may be forceful and brilliant, the heart of vital emotions hard and strong and masterful, the life-force dominant and successful, the bodily existence rich and fortunate and an apparent lord and victor. It is then the outer desire-soul, the pseudo-psychic entity, that reigns and we mistake its misinterpretations of psychic suggestion and aspiration, its ideas and ideals, its desires and yearnings for true soul-stuff and wealth of spiritual experience note. If the secret psychic Person can come forward into the front and, replacing the desire-soul, govern overtly and entirely and not only partially and from behind the veil this outer nature of mind, life and body, then these can be cast into soul images of what is true, right and beautiful and in the end the whole nature can be turned towards the real aim of life, the supreme victory, the ascent into spiritual existence. "
The Life Divine (10th ed.), pp.225-7

footnote by Sri Aurobindo:

"The word "psychic" in our ordinary parlance is more often used in reference to this desire-soul than to the true psychic. It is used still more loosely of psychological and other phenomena of an abnormal or supernormal character which are really connected with the inner mind, inner vital, subtle physical being subliminal in us and are not at all direct operations of the psyche. Even such phenomena as materialisation and dematerialisation are included, though, if established, they evidently are not soul-action and would not shed any light upon the nature or existence of the psychic entity, but would rather be an abnormal action of an occult subtle physical energy intervening in the ordinary status of the gross body of things, reducing it to its own subtle condition and again reconstituting it in the terms of pass matter. "


"At the beginning the soul in Nature, the psychic entity, whose unfolding is the first step towards a spiritual change, is an entirely veiled part of us, although it is that by which we exist and persist as individual beings in Nature. The other parts of our natural composition are not only mutable but perishable; but the psychic entity in us persists and is fundamentally the same always: it contains all essential possibilities of our manifestation but is not constituted by them; it is not limited by what it manifests, not contained by the incomplete forms of the manifestation, not tarnished by the imperfections and impurities, the defects and depravations of the surface being. It is an ever-pure flame of the divinity in things and nothing that comes to it, nothing that enters into our experience can pollute its purity or extinguish the flame. This spiritual stuff is immaculate and luminous and, because it is perfectly luminous, it is immediately, intimately, directly aware of truth of being and truth of nature; it is deeply conscious of truth and good and beauty because truth and good and beauty are akin to its own native character, forms of something that is inherent in its own substance. It is aware also of all that contradicts these things, of all that deviates from its own native character, of falsehood and evil and the ugly and the unseemly; but it does not become these things nor is it touched or changed by these opposites of itself which so powerfully affect its outer instrumentation of mind, life and body. For the soul, the permanent being in us, puts forth and uses mind, life and body as its instruments, undergoes the envelopment of their conditions, but it is other and greater than its members."
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine (10th ed.), p.891

Psychic Being
(Chaitya Purusha)

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