Editor’s note: The descent of powers of higher consciousness is the key to transformation in Integral Yoga. In some of his letters to sadhaks, Sri Aurobindo spoke of the necessity of having a solid and settled basis of higher Peace so that the ādhār is made ready for descent of other powers such as Force, Light, Knowledge and Ananda. A state of absolute Peace and Silence is also essential for the manifestation of the Eternal Will, as the Mother reminds us in the passage featured here.
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Peace for Transformation
The descent of Peace, the descent of Force or Power, the descent of Light, the descent of Ananda, these are the four things that transform the nature.
[. . .]
There is no rule, but the most normal course is for a certain Peace and Force and Light which is above the mind to descend and as the result of its workings the cosmic consciousness opens and in it higher and higher levels above mind. Many people get an opening into the cosmic consciousness first but without the basis of the higher Peace and Light it brings only a mass of unorganised experiences.
Yes, when things begin to descend, they must come down on a solid basis. That is why it is necessary to have peace as the first descent and that it should become as strong and solid as possible.
But in any case to contain is the first necessity—then more and more can come and settle itself. Once these two things are settled—peace and strength, one can bear any amount of everything else, Ananda, Knowledge, or whatever it may be.
The descent is that of the powers of the higher consciousness which is above the head. It usually descends from centre to centre till it has occupied the whole being. But at the beginning the action is very variable.
It is only when the Peace from above has not only descended but established itself in the whole system that there is a continuous action. The descent comes in order to transform the consciousness but the transformation takes time. It is not done all in a moment.
Serene Peace and Massive Stillness Must be Stabilised
The higher consciousness in its descent takes several fundamental forms—peace, power and strength, light, knowledge, Ananda. Usually it is the peace that descends first.
This is not a mental, vital or physical peace of the ordinary kind, but something from above (spiritual), very firm, solid and concrete. It is its concreteness that makes you feel like a still massive block—a mass of the higher consciousness in place of the more tenuous substance of the ordinary nature.
. . . it is indeed the beginning of the real transformation—all the rest hitherto has been mainly preparation and clearing of difficulties and impediments through all these years.
This serene peace and massive stillness has to stabilise itself, fill the whole nature, widen itself until all existence internal and external seems full of it. This may take time, but the beginning once there it is sure to take place, if one is steady and constant.
It becomes besides the sure base on which all the rest,—power and strength, light and knowledge, Ananda and divine love, can come in and securely fill the consciousness.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30, pp. 444-445
The more you keep that dominant sense of the force and the calmness and increase it, the more the other feeling [of inadequacy and restlessness] will diminish and fade.
It always happens that at first the Power and Peace only press, touch, invade at places, until a time comes when a part of the being always feels in that condition however much disturbance may assail the surface.
Afterwards the disturbance is more and more pushed out till it is felt only outside the being, not in it. When that too goes, there is the complete peace and the full foundation.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 444
The First Decisive Experiences
The first decisive experiences in this Yoga are a calm and peace that is felt, first somewhere in the being and in the end in all the being, and the descent of a Power and Force into the body which will take up the whole adhar and work in it to transform mind, life and body into the instrumentation of the Divine Consciousness. . . . Much has to be done before they can be established or persistently effective, . . .
It must be remembered however that the Yoga is not easy and cannot be done without the rising of many obstacles and much lapse of time—so if you take it up it must be with a firm resolve to carry it through to the end with a whole-hearted sincerity, faith, patience and courage.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 455
There are two things that have to be established in order to make a foundation for the workings of the sadhana in the waking consciousness, 1st a descent of Peace from above, 2nd a descent of the Force. If one has these two things permanently established in the consciousness, then one has the basis.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 455
The Power above the head is of course the Mother’s—it is the power of the Higher Consciousness which is preparing its way of descent. This Higher Consciousness carrying in it a sense of wide and boundless existence, light, power, peace, Ananda etc. is always there above the head and when something of the spiritual Force comes down to work upon the nature, it is from there that it comes.
But nothing like the full descent of the peace, bliss etc. can come so long as the being is not ready.
Very usually the first preparation is to work on the mind and vital and physical nature in such a way that the soul, the psychic being can have a chance of manifesting itself and influencing the rest of the nature; for that purpose all the main darknesses in the mind and vital have to be combated and thrown out and the physical also prepared in an initial way so that the descent may be possible.
~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 30, p. 458
Holy Peace and Sacred Silence
In Peace and Silence the Eternal manifests; allow nothing to disturb you and the Eternal will manifest; have perfect equality in face of all and the Eternal will be there….
Yes, we should not put too much intensity, too much effort into our seeking for Thee; the effort and intensity become a veil in front of Thee; we must not desire to see Thee, for that is still a mental agitation which obscures Thy Eternal Presence; it is in the most complete Peace, Serenity and Equality that all is Thou even as Thou art all, and the least vibration in this perfectly pure and calm atmosphere is an obstacle to Thy manifestation.
No haste, no inquietude, no tension, Thou, nothing but Thou, without any analysis or any objectivising, and Thou art there without a possible doubt, for all becomes a Holy Peace and a Sacred Silence. And that is better than all the meditations in the world.
~ The Mother, CWM Vol. 1, p. 10
~ Graphic design: Biswajita Mohapatra and Raamkumar