Physical mind

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“How would you define the physical mind in contrast with [the] material mind?

The physical mind is the mind of the physical personality formed by the body. It grows with the body, but it isn't the mind of Matter: it is the mind of the physical being. For instance, it is the mind that makes one's character: the bodily, physical character, which is in large part formed by atavism and education. What is called ‘physical mind’ is all that. Yes, it's the result of atavism, of education and of the formation of the body; that's what makes the physical character. For example, some people are patient, some are strong and so on – physically, I mean, not for vital or mental reasons, but purely physically everyone has a character. That's the physical mind. And it is part of any integral yoga: you discipline this physical mind. I have done it for more than sixty years.”[1]


“That's what a very small child already has: it already has a physical mind; so that no two very small children are alike, with identical reactions: there is already a difference. And it is especially what is given you with the special FORM of your body, by atavism, and then fully developed by education.”[2]


(Message for the fourth anniversary of the Supramental Manifestation upon earth)

“It is only when the Supramental manifests in the body-mind that its presence can be permanent.”

29 February 1972


Doing japa seems to exert a pressure on my physical consciousness, which goes on turning! How can I silence it? As soon as my concentration is not absolute, the physical mind starts up — it grabs at anything, anything at all, any word, fact or event that comes along, and it starts turning, turning. If you stop it, if you put some pressure on it, then it springs back up two minutes later ... And there is no inner consent at all. It chews on words, it chews on ideas or feelings — interminably. What should I do?

Yes, it's the physical mind. The japa is made precisely to control the physical mind.
         I myself use it for a very special reason, because ... You see, I invoke (the words are a bit strange) ... the Lord of Tomorrow. Not the unmanifest Lord, but the Lord as he will manifest ‘tomorrow’, or in Sri Aurobindo's words, the divine manifestation in its supramental form.
         So the first sound of my mantra is the call to that, the evocation. With the second sound, the body's cells make their ‘surrender’, they give themselves. And with the third sound comes the identification of this [the body] with That, which produces the divine life. These are my three sounds.”[3]


“But what you are speaking of, this sort of sound-mill, this milling of words interminably repeating the same thing, I've suddenly caught it two or three times (not very often and with long intervals). It has always seemed fantastic to me! How is it stopped? ... Always in the same way. It's something that takes place outside, actually; it's not inside — it's outside, on the surface, generally somewhere here (Mother indicates the temples), and the method is to draw your consciousness up above, to go there and remain there — white. Always this whiteness, white like a sheet of paper, flat like a plate of glass. An absolutely flat and white and motionless surface — white! White like luminous milk, turned upwards. Not transparent: white.
         When this mill starts turning — usually it comes from this side (Mother indicates the right side of the head) — it takes hold of any sound or any word at all, and then it starts turning, harping on the same thing. This has happened to me a dozen times perhaps, but it doesn't come from me; it comes from outside, from someone or something or some particular work. So then you take it — as if you were picking it up with pincers, and then ... (She lifts it upwards), then I hold it there, in this motionless white — no need to keep it there for long!
         Aren't you aware of this thing up above, this white plate at the crown of the head? It's what receives intuitions. It's just like a photographic plate, and it's not even active — things pass right through it without our even realizing it. And then if you concentrate just a little, everything stops, everything stops.”[4]


“I heard something written by Sri Aurobindo, saying that for the Supramental to manifest upon earth the physical mind must receive it and manifest it — and it is just the physical mind, that is to say, the body-mind, the only thing that remains in me now. And then, the reason why only this part has remained became quite clear to me. It is on the way to being converted in a very rapid and interesting manner. This physical mind is being developed under the supramental Influence. And it is just what Sri Aurobindo has written, that this is indispensable so that the Supramental can manifest itself permanently upon earth.
         So, it is going on well... but it is not easy (Mother laughs).”[5]

18 December 1971


“But it must be something very radical.

But it is radical, my child! You can’t imagine, it is like... I could say truly that I have become another person. There is only this (Mother touches the outer form of her body) which remains as it was.... To what extent will it be able to change? Sri Aurobindo has said that if the physical mind were transformed, the transformation of the body would follow quite naturally. We shall see.”[6]




  1. Agenda, 31 August 1965
  2. Ibid.
  3. Mother's Agenda, 11 October 1960
  4. Ibid.
  5. Notes on the Way, p.279
  6. Ibid.


See also