“The man seeking the higher divine life, the seeker after divine Consciousness and the Truth, – who is Purusha, – if he meets the woman of the right type, the woman who is his Shakti, then his spiritual life, the life which he is to manifest, is enriched and becomes full. In this case also there is the psychic union between the two.
In the case of those who have the psychic union of the proper kind to start with, the spiritual relation may gradually develop and manifest itself.
In the spiritual union the woman who is the Shakti must be really a Power – that is to say, a powerful personality who can receive the help from the Purusha in the proper way. Each must be of real help to the other: this relation is the most difficult to attain.”
“So I had all this preparation. And I am giving you these details simply to tell you it all began with consciousness (I knew very well what consciousness was, even before I had any word or idea to explain it), consciousness and its force – its force of action, its force of execution. Next, a detailed study and thorough development of the vital. After that, mental development taken to its uppermost limit, where you can juggle with all ideas; a developmental stage where it's already understood that all ideas are true and that there's a synthesis to be made, and that beyond the synthesis lies something luminous and true. And behind it all, a continual consciousness. Such was my state when I came here: I'd had a world of experiences and had already attained conscious union with the Divine above and within – all of it consciously realized, carefully noted and so forth – when I came to Sri Aurobindo.
From the standpoint of shakti, this is the normal course: consciousness, vital, mental and spiritual.
Is it different for men? I don't know. Sri Aurobindo's case was quite special, and apart from him I don't see any convincing example. But generally speaking, what is most developed in a man, along with the mind, is the physical consciousness; the vital is very impulsive, practically ungoverned. That's my experience of the hundreds and hundreds of men I have met. There's normally a physical strength built up through games and exercises, and side by side a more or less advanced, but primarily mental development, very mental. The vital is terribly impulsive and barely organized, except in artists, and even there.... I lived among artists for ten years and found this ground to be mostly fallow. I mingled with all the great artists of the time, I was like a kid sister to them (it was at the turn of the century, with the Universal Exposition in 1900; and these were the leading artists of the epoch); so I was by far the youngest, much younger than any of them – they were all thirty, thirty-five, forty years old, while I was nineteen or twenty. Well I was much more advanced in their own field – not in what I was producing (I was a perfectly ordinary artist), but from the viewpoint of consciousness: observations, experiences, studies.”