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Distortion of the early Psychic or Soul influence or action

In most people who are but a little awakened, the guidance of the Soul is still too weak to counter the strong and loud voices of the intellect doubts and rationalisations and the emotional desires and instincts (what Sri Aurobindo calls the Vital). This is why there are so many instance sof people who, although well-meaning and with a genuine spiritual insight, end up being caught up in the stupidity of the world and everyday human ignorance, and the smallness of their own opinions, doubts and fears.

The following passage details this tragic aspect of human nature, and explains how the everyday wisdom of the heart is lost or distorted by any number of factors. Only the full awakening of the Soul, ad the transforamtion or "psychicisation" of the outer being by it, can ensure that one is guided by wisdom and truth rather than half-truth, fancy, and error.

"But this psychic influence or action does not come up to the surface quite pure or does not remain distinct in its purity; if it did, we would be able to distinguish clearly the soul element in us and follow consciously and fully its dictates. An occult mental and vital and subtle-physical action intervenes, mixes with it, tries to use it and turn it to its own profit, dwarfs its divinity, distorts or diminishes its self-expression, even causes it to deviate and stumble or stains it with the impurity, smallness and error of mind and life and body. After it reaches the surface, thus alloyed and diminished, it is taken hold of by the surface nature in an obscure reception and ignorant formation, and there is or can be by this cause a still further deviation and mixture. A twist is given, a wrong direction is imparted, a wrong application, a wrong formation, an erroneous result of what is in itself pure stuff and action of our spiritual being; a formation of consciousness is accordingly made which is a mixture of the psychic influence and its intimations jumbled with mental ideas and opinions, vital desires and urges, habitual physical tendencies. There coalesce too with the obscured soul-influence the ignorant though well-intentioned efforts of these external parts towards a higher direction; a mental ideation of a very mixed character, often obscure even in its idealism, sometimes even disastrously mistaken, a fervour and passion of the emotional being throwing up its spray and foam of feelings, sentiments, sentimentalisms, a dynamic enthusiasm of the life-parts, eager responses of the physical, the thrills and excitements of nerve and body, - all these influences coalesce in a composite formation which is frequently taken as the soul and its mixed and confused action for the soul-stir, for a psychic development and action or a realised inner influence. The psychic entity is itself free from stain or mixture, but what comes up from it is not protected by that immunity; therefore this confusion becomes possible."
The Life Divine (10th ed.), p.893-4

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
Text by Sri Aurobindo © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1977
page uploaded 19 July 2004