On Thoughts and Aphorisms

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On Thoughts and Aphorisms

JNANA (Knowledge)

First period of commentaries (1958)

Aphorism

1 Knowledge and Wisdom: allied powers 1 Paper icon.png
“The truth seen in a distorted medium” 2
Truth compared to white light 3
2 Inspiration: a slender river of brightness 3
Inspiration, reason and the senses 5
“How to develop the capacity for inspiration?” 6
Best method to profit from Sri Aurobindo’s writings 7
3 Reason trembles before higher truths 7
Supramental revolution 9
4 Knowledge and work 9
Silence of perfect receptivity 10
5 Obstacles to realisation 10
Fear, doubt and scepticism 11
Nature’s way of progressing 12
6 Mind receives shock from aphorisms 14
Role of reason 14
Danger of abandoning reason 15
True wisdom 16
7 What men call knowledge 17
Appearances and “reversal of consciousness” 18
“How to have the experience?” 19
8 Intolerance of religions 20
Mechanism of intolerance 21
Experience, individual and universal 21
Relationships are like a mirror 22
True perfection in oneself 23
9 “How do we know what the soul sees?” 23
Mind and vital: obstacles to the soul 24
Hearing the soul 25
10 Only the soul can know the soul 26
What would make humanity progress most 27
11 “What is the mental personality?” 27
What Sri Aurobindo calls Immortality 28
Conditions for indefinite survival of body 28
Perfection of psychic personality and body 29
Physical culture 30
Sadhana of the body 31
12 You can prove anything with the mind 32
Supreme has a sense of humour 33
Best way to learn more 34
Grace and seeing 35

JNANA (Knowledge)

Second period of commentaries (1960 – 61)

13 Hallucinations 39
“The miracles of human reason” 39
14 Hallucination: term of Science 40
“Coincidence” 40
15 Hallucination and vision 41
16 Planes of the mind 42
17 Identification with Divine 43
Physical mind and knowledge of God 44
18 Idea of illusion is itself an illusion 44
World is real; perception of it is false 45
19 Does reason alone see things as ugly? 45
Relativity of beauty and ugliness 46
20 Beauty of the hideous 46
21 Forgiveness and the Divine 47
22, 23 “God gave me a good blow” 47
Nothing and no one to forgive 48
24 Origin of misfortune 48
25 Wisdom and suffering 49
26 Everything happens by the Grace of the Lord 50
27 “To play with Krishna” 51
God as Torturer 51
28 War and evolution 52
Descent of Supermind and war 53
29 Divine and personal will 53
30 Purity of instinct and the mental ego 54
31 Progress and despair 55
Experience of a life of failure 56
32 The Atheist is God 57
33 Divine perfection and receiving blows 57
34 The blessing of misfortune 58
35, 36 Christ and Krishna 59
Men cherish suffering and hatred 59
37 Existence of Brindavan and Krishna 60
38 Evolution and the death of Christ 61
Christ as Avatar 61
39 History and legend 62
40 Four great events in history 62
“The colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity” 63
41 Role of the Gospels 64
42 Existence of heaven and hell 64
Hell as a state of consciousness 65
43 Contradiction intensifies aspiration 65
44 Creation of falsehood on the mental plane 66
45 Role of logic and reason 67
46 Sri Aurobindo’s experience in prison 68
47 Conquest and transformation of the mind 69
48 “The beauty of the hideous” 69
Words and experience 70
49 Curing evil and ugliness 70 Paper icon.png
True collaboration 72
Love and transformation 72
Spreading love 72
Secret of the divine incarnation 73
Receptivity of divine love 74
50 Not a single sin that is not our sin 74 Paper icon.png
Collective human psychological consciousness 75
Sin is something not in its right place 76
Revolt is the feeling of an impotent will 77
Meaning of omnipotence 77
Hatred of the virtuous 78
51 Nature of self-deception 79 Paper icon.png
Anger is a deformation of vital power 81
Giving favourable explanations to all movements 81
52 Philanthropy and service of the Divine 82
Love of Divine and man 82
53, 54 Religions and immortality 83 Paper icon.png
Physical immortality 84
55 Kali and supreme Realisation 84 Paper icon.png
56 Knowledge and debate 85 Paper icon.png
Proving what one feels to be true 85
57 The truly natural state for man 86 Paper icon.png
Mind and individualisation 87
58 The Mother’s memory of earthly paradise 88 Paper icon.png
Symbol of the tree of knowledge 89
First human forms 90
Evolution and the fall 91
Story of the serpent 92
Jehovah as the supreme Asura 92
Spoiling of earth’s atmosphere 94
59 Giving a beating to God 94 Paper icon.png
Nature of idols 95
Teaching of Sri Aurobindo and religion 95
60 Memory of past lives 96 Paper icon.png
Development of the individual 97
61 Experience of the Infinite 97
62 Folly is distorted mask of Truth 98 Paper icon.png
No absolute falsehood 98
“The destruction of a universe” 98
Beyond Nirvana and Existence 100
63, 64, 65 The weakness of God 100 Paper icon.png
Idea of “God the Creator” 102
Nothing other than God 102
The Divine Play 103
Perfection 104
Ways of approaching the Divine 104
66 Cruelty as an expression of the Divine 105
Sadism and tamas 106
Ananda and cruelty 106
Pralayas of various universes 106
Equilibrium and perfection 107
Supermind puts things in their place 107
67, 68 Sin and the ego 108

JNANA (Knowledge)

Third Period of Commentaries (1962 – 66)

69 Capacity to express the supramental world 111 Paper icon.png
Equality and the supramental 112
Two conditions for supramental realisation 113
Problem of physical transformation 113
Will of the Self 114
Supramental life and the mind 115
Individualisation 117
Widening the body 117
Occult creation of new body 117
70 Role of adverse forces in creation 118 Paper icon.png
Offering of the earth consciousness 119
Consciousness of supreme Love 119
Origin of Falsehood 120
Do not try to be among the pure 121
71 Thought and Truth 121 Paper icon.png
Seeing the Truth in its entirety 122
Mind always sees successively 122
72 Premonitory dreams 123 Paper icon.png
The subtle physical and the material plane 125
Seeing others in the subtle physical 125
Sources of vision 126
Universal mental vision 126
Sincerity and the power of prediction 127
Changing events in the subtle physical 128
Experiences of extended consciousness 129
Methods of developing subtle senses 131
Seeing at a distance 132
73 Wisdom and knowledge 133 Paper icon.png
74, 75 Inadequacy of scientific and spiritual approach 134 Paper icon.png
Door to the total Knowledge 135
More than one Avatar needed for supramental realisation 137
The Mother’s vision of physical world 138
Four dimensional world is superficial 138
76 Destruction of Europe by a child 139 Paper icon.png
Aphorism contains true prediction 140
77, 78 Knowledge by inspiration 141 Paper icon.png
Knowledge and transformation 142
Transformation of the body 143
Organs replaced by chakras 144
79, 80 There is no error 145 Paper icon.png
A thing is and is not at the same time 146
Play of the Lord 146
Man makes play tragic 147
World of the “living” and the “dead” 147
Worry and the play 148
Error and infinite possibility 149
Way to get out of tragedy 150
Dealing with the old consciousness 151
Physical presence of the Lord 152
Vibration that contains everything 153
81, 82, 83 God’s laughter 154 Paper icon.png
God never takes his works seriously 154
Virtue and perfection 155
Limitations of taking life seriously 155
Only way to make life perfect 155
Dissolving suffering and pain 156
Avoid people who take life seriously 156
We must learn how to play 157
84, 85, 86, 87 What men call miracles 157 Paper icon.png
Sri Aurobindo performed miracles in the mind 159
What would be a true miracle? 160
Miracle belongs only to the finite world 161
Thirst for the marvellous 162
Miracles and aspiration 163
88, 89, 90, 91, 92 Nature of opposites 164 Paper icon.png
Opposition and progress 165
Bringing creation out of inertia 166
Simplicity 167
93 Pain is the touch of our Mother 168 Paper icon.png
Teaching the body to bear pain 169
Pain and fear 169
94 The Mother’s experience of renunciation 170 Paper icon.png
Progress and the power of dissolution 171
Renunciation and self-centred consciousness 172
Rapture and power 173
Rapturous state of consciousness is dangerous 173
95 Perfect renunciation and satisfaction of desire 174 Paper icon.png
Vibrations of desire and the divine Will 175
Lack of receptivity and desire 176
Difference of vibratory quality 176
Physical is a field of vibrations 177
Response of cells to supreme Force 178
Perception of the totality of vibrations 179
Action, desire and the vibration of Will 179
96 Scriptures are diminution of experience 180 Paper icon.png
97 Truth and individual experience 181 Paper icon.png
98 Revelation is the memory of Truth 181Paper icon.png
Revelation is always personal in form 182
Experience, idea and words 182
Explosion of truth-power 183
99, 100 Understanding and Scriptures 184
101, 102 Sun-consciousness and earth-consciousness 185 Paper icon.png
Truth-Consciousness and appearance of world 186
Only way to change the world 187
Consciousness of the Lord 187
Perfect sense of Oneness 189
“Relation of consciousness” 189
Intervention of the vibration of harmony 190
Action of the Truth-Consciousness 191
Falsehood replaced by Light 192
103, 104, 105, 106, 107 Vivekananda and Sannyasa 193 Paper icon.png
To be free from all attachment 194
Fear of being mistaken 195
Renunciation and elimination 195
Modern hyper-activity 197
Why the Ashram was created 197
Aspiration more intense in the outer world 198
Man needs extremes 199
Manifestation of divine Love 199
Power of pure Love 200
Aspire intensely, but without impatience 200
Haste in which men live 201
Sincere realisation 202
108 Narada and Janaka 202 Paper icon.png
Gods have no psychic being 202
Shiva will come with the supramental world 203
Man alone possesses a psychic being 203
109 Sri Aurobindo is a part of the Lord 204 Paper icon.png
Falsehood of the creation 204
110 Wonders of physical science and the soul 205 Paper icon.png
Science cannot predict the future 206
Power of the soul over Matter 207
Experience and understanding 208
Perceiving the new 209
The refusal to know 210
111, 112 Power of silence 211 Paper icon.png
Acceptance of the apparent denial of Truth 212
Demand for the Divine to show his power 213
113, 114 Vibration of hate and love are the same 213 Paper icon.png
Purity of the central vibration 214
Morality is a choice between distortions 215
115, 116 “There is no end and no beginning” 216 Paper icon.png
“Memory of eternity” 217
Life of the earth 218
Consciousness and limits 219
Human mind needs to build a dwelling-place 220
“Error” of material world was indispensable 221
There is no manifestation without progress 222
Consciousness of the dead on earth 223
Seeing and hearing by consciousness 224
“Are you ready for anything?” 225
Consciousness of the body 226
Perfection of sight and hearing 227
Action of human will on the Mother’s body 228
117, 118, 119, 120, 121 An irresistable Power governing everything 228 Paper icon.png
Nature of Will from above 230
Resistance and divine Action 231
How the Force acts 232
Stopping the resistance 233
122, 123, 124 Nature of opinion 233 Paper icon.png
Action and opinion 234
Conditions for intervening in someone’s action 235
How opinions are formed 236

JNANA (Knowledge)

Fourth Period of Commentaries (1969)

125, 126 Overcoming the laws of Nature 241
127 Psychic being and the laws of Nature 241
128, 129 “The nature which exceeds the body” 242
130 The role of human aspiration and effort 242
131, 132 Disappearance of all human moral notions 243
133 Titans are stronger than the gods 243
134, 135, 136 Suffering and delight 244
137 Pleasure and pain depend on inner attitude 245
138 Relationships and psychic contacts 245
139 Who is the superman? 246
140 Human ego and the superman 246
141 The qualities of the superman 247
142 Qualities needed for growth of being 247
143, 144 Art reveals what Nature hides 248
Photography and modern art 248
145 The secret soul of Nature 248
146, 147, 148, 149, 150 Shakespeare, the universalist 249
Action by contrast and negation 250
151 Proof and coincidence 250
Refusal to learn 251
152, 153 Material, immaterial and supramental consciousness 251
154, 155, 156 Mind and creation 252
157, 158 Sri Aurobindo: “the last Avatar” 253
159 Worship of gods and goddesses 253
160, 161 Knowledge and delight 254
“Intellectual culture” 254
162 Out of man the superman emerges 254
163, 164 Law and freedom 255
165 Self-imposed discipline 256
166 The law of sin and virtue 256
Law and progress 257
167 Ignorance and the Divine goal 258
168, 169 The symbol of the Cross in Yoga 258
170, 171 Failure of Christ and Mahomed 259
172 Freedom, desire, ignorance and egoism 259
173, 174 The human way of understanding 260
175 Meaning of failure 261
176, 177 The perfect cosmic vision 261
178 The prison is the ego 262
179 To live for God 263
180 Experiencing eternity 263
181, 182 The less you speak the better 264
183, 184 Perfection and harmony 264
185, 186 Consciousness beyond good and bad 265
187, 188 Vice and virtue used for evolution 265
189, 190, 191 Attitude towards poverty 266
192 Individual classed according to his nature 266
193, 194, 195, 196 Poverty and society 267
Ideal of the Ashram and Auroville 268
197, 198 Conditions for happiness 269
199, 200 Effective remedy for human egoism 269
201, 202 Messages to man 270
203, 204 Conditions for greatest progress of humanity 271
205 The first step of the superman 271

KARMA (Works)

Fourth period of commentaries (1969 – 70)

206 Escape from the consequences of past errors 275
207 Escape from evil and suffering 275
208, 209 Ego and beatitude 276
Self-forgetfulness and self-giving 276
210, 211 Anger and vengeance 276
212 Only tragedy: failure to find one’s soul 277
213 Tragedy and evolution 277
214, 215 Nature of genius 278
216 Inspiration and madness 278
217 Mastering and conquering violence 279
218, 219, 220, 221 Unity of mankind 279
222, 223, 224 Qualities of a converted Asura 280
225, 226, 227 Altruism can kill the soul 280
228, 229, 230 God’s command to slay 281
231, 232, 233, 234 Virtues 281
235, 236, 237 Instruments and prisons of the soul 282
238, 239, 240 Humanity advances by great and noble failures 283
241, 242 Atheism and religion 283
243, 244, 245, 246, 247 God and temptation 284
Giving oneself completely to the Divine 285
248, 249, 250 Becoming conscious of the Divine Will 285
251 Only choice to be made 286
252, 253, 254 God is circling about 286
255, 256, 257 “Blind faith” 287
258, 259, 260, 261 Reason, faith and instinct 288
Goal of the spiritual life 289
262, 263, 264 Perceiving the Divine Command 289
265, 266, 267, 268, 269 Motives for action 290
270, 271 Persistence in effort 291
272, 273 Truth is a difficult conquest 291
274, 275, 276 Value of asceticism 292
277, 278 Soul and action 292
279 Total consecration to the Divine 293
280, 281 Soul and the alleviation of suffering 293
282 Purity and action 294
283, 284, 285 Sorrow and evolution 294
286, 287, 288 Man’s possibility of union with the Supreme 295
289, 290 To radiate love in all circumstances 295
291, 292 Human judgments 296
293, 294 Three varieties of self-deceit 296
295, 296 World is capable of manifesting the Divine 297
297, 298 Beauty and ugliness 298
299, 300, 301, 302 Living according to the Truth 298
303, 304, 305 Women and spirituality 299
306 Asceticism and action in the world 300
307 God laughed at Shankara 300
308, 309, 310 Essential qualities develop through suffering 300
311, 312 Attitude towards transformation 301
313, 314 Wisdom lies in the union of opposites 301
315, 316 All carry in their souls the divine end 302
317, 318 Everything exists from all eternity 302
319 The will of Brahman 303
320, 321 Anarchic state: true divine state of man 303
322, 323, 324 Successful communism 304
Vedanta and communism 304
325, 326 “Freedom, equality, brotherhood” and the ego 304
327, 328 Perfection of the individual and society 305
329, 330, 331 Greatness of an action 306
332, 333, 334 National and human unity 307
335, 336 Sri Aurobindo’s work and human unity 307
337, 338 Artist: imitator and creator 308
339 The Divine is beyond good and evil 308
340 Reaction perfects and hastens progress 309
341, 342, 343 Democracy, Socialism and Anarchism 309
All human governments are a falsehood 310
344, 345 Perfection of soul and outer environment 310
346, 347, 348 True saintliness 310
349, 350, 351 Knowing God’s will 311
“The soul that is naked and unashamed” 311
352, 353, 354, 355, 356 Truth is above all opposites 312
357 True governor of humanity 312
358, 359, 360, 361 Effects of the supramental consciousness 313
362 India and religious conventions 314
363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369 Sincerity: condition for hearing the Lord 315
370, 371, 372, 373 Grace leads whatever you do 316
374, 375, 376 Death and the ego 317
“Someone who belongs to the Divine” 318
377, 378 Liberation from the ego 318
379, 380, 381 Excess in any direction is a violence 319
382 Medicines and natural health 320
383, 384, 385 The barbarism of modern humanity 320

Disease and Medical Science

386, 387, 388, 389 Disease and the mind 321
The healing power of Grace 322
390, 391, 392, 393 The role of mind and faith in medicine 322
394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399 Divine health and disease 323
400, 401, 402, 403 Mental faith in drugs 324
404, 405, 406, 407 Medicine and the body 325

BHAKTI (Devotion) Fourth period of commentaries (1969 – 70)

408, 409, 410, 411, 412 Knowing God as a woman 329
413 To commit adultery with God 330
414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420 The joy of being God’s enemy 330
421, 422, 423, 424 “The four stages of pain” 332
425, 426, 427 Love for only the Divine 333
428 Love for Krishna and Kali 333
429, 430 Enjoying Nature with the soul 334
431, 432, 433, 434 God and the world 334
Wisdom: capacity to admit all theories 335
435, 436, 437, 438 The love of Krishna 335
439, 440, 441, 442, 443, 444 God as lover 336
445, 446, 447, 448, 449 Sri Aurobindo reveals the secret of existence 337
450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455 Curing jealousy 338
456, 457, 458, 459, 460, 461 God and Satan 339
462, 463 The Divine’s way of dealing with virtue 340
464, 465 The world will manifest divine joy 340
466, 467, 468 The mind and God 341
469, 470, 471 Man must accept all as Grace 341
472 Beware of all mental constructions 342
473 The Divine accepts all sincere aspiration 343
474, 475 God and hell 343
Delight may be intolerable for humans 344
476 The seven beatitudes of life 344
477, 478, 479 Conditions for the world becoming heaven 344
480, 481 Falsehood of ordinary human consciousness 345
482, 483 Krishna stealing the robes of the Gopis 345
484 Krishna and sin 346
485, 486, 487, 488, 489 Realising true Unity 346
490, 491, 492 Keeping the Divine contact in all circumstances 347
493, 494 Ways of seeing God 348
495, 496 Value of suffering and pain 349
497, 498, 499 Pain: the training of delight 349
One true wisdom 350
500, 501, 502, 503 Role of suffering and pain 350
504 Divine Love needed in our sorrowful age 351
505 Science, the God-lover and God-knower 351
506 To be able to laugh at this world 351
507 Human science and occultism 352
508 The Mother’s experience concerning transformation of the body 352
509, 510, 511, 512 True way to understand the Scriptures 353
513, 514 Service to the Divine 353
515, 516 Doing good to human beings 354
Liberation from all conventional morality 354
517, 518 Weakness and the Divine 355
519 The Titan’s four strides to immortality 355
520 Understanding the universe 356
521 Perceiving the Divine 356
522, 523 Suffering and bliss 356
524 The soul, mind and pain 357
525, 526 Compassion and the Divine Consciousness 357
527, 528 Love and pity 358
529, 530 Compassion and pity 358
531, 532, 533 Constancy in effort and faith 358
534 Love, human and divine 359
535 “Divine mind” 360
536, 537 One drop of true knowledge can create a revolution 360
538 The essence and potency of Maya 361
539, 540 Seeing God in Huxley and Haeckel 361
541 Seeing God in the torturer and the slayer 362


Notes are paraphrased from the “Publisher's Note” and “Note on the Texts”.