Psychic being (chaitya purusha)

psychic being

Image : Loci Lenar, via Flickr (Creative Commons.  Click on the image to go to the source.

The inner Self, no larger than the size of a man’s thumb…

(Katha Upanishad 2.3.17, Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.13)

Others see in the meditation upon Him within their own body the Personality of Godhead residing in the region of the heart measuring eight inches, having four arms, carrying the lotus, the wheel of the chariot, the conchshell and the club.

(Bhagavata Purana 2.2.8)

In the space lying inside the heart, the Purusha assumes the form of manas which is immortal and golden in look.  The flesh hanging like a teat from above the cavity of the throat is the abode of Indra.

(Taittiriya Upanishad I.6)

The psychic being is the evolving soul within us, which sits behind our heart, which develops life after life through life experiences. It is the portion of the Divine which holds together our mental, vital and physical sheaths. At the time of death, it decides the circumstances of our next birth and then withdraws into the psychic world for a period of rest.


Psychic Being same as the Vedic Agni

Purani: You have said that the psychic being is also a personality.

Sri Aurobindo: Yes, there is the psychic Purusha.

Purani: Does the psychic being develop from birth to birth?

Sri Aurobindo : It is not the psychic being itself that develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the individual. It is these personalities in nature that are bound.

Purani: Then it seems that the function of the psychic being is the same as that of Vedic Agni who is the God of Fire, who is the leader of the journey.

Sri Aurobindo : Yes. Agni is the God of the psychic and, among other things that it does, it also leads the upward journey.

(Nirodbaran, Talks with Sri Aurobindo, 23 Jan 1939)

Disciple: Has the psychic flame any correspondence to the Vedic Agni? They seem to have more or less the same chief/qualities.

Mother: Yes, these are two names for the same thing.

(CWMCE, vol. 16, p 208)

The Mother on the psychic being

Question : Is the psychic being in the heart?

Answer : Not in the physical heart, not in the organ. It is in a fourth dimension, an inner dimension. But it is in that region, the region somewhat behind the solar plexus, it is there that one finds it most easily. The psychic being is in the fourth dimension as related to our physical being

Question : Mother, why is it better to concentrate in the heart?

Answer : He says here that it is easier. For some people it is more difficult, it depends on one’s nature. But it is better because if you concentrate there, deeply enough, it is there that you enter into contact with the psychic for the first time; while if you concentrate in the head you have to pass later from the head to the heart to be able to identify yourself with the psychic being. And if you concentrate by gathering the energies, it is better to gather them here, because it is in this centre, in this region of the being that you find the will to progress, the force of purification, and the most intense and effective aspiration. The aspiration that comes from the heart is much more effective than that from the head.

(Questions and Answers, Vol 6, 3 November 1954)

Discussion on nomenclature

Sri Aurobindo : Did you refer to the dictionary to find out whether “Chaitya Purusha” can mean “the Psychic being”, “the Soul”?

Disciple (1) : I did, but the word is not given there in that sense; it only carries the sense of Chaitya of the Buddhas and the Jainas.

Sri Aurobindo : That is quite another meaning. But what about this one?

Disciple : But you have yourself used it in the Arya at two places.

Sri Aurobindo : How is that? Where?

Disciple : In the Synthesis of Yoga, in the fourth chapter about the “Four Aids” you have mentioned there “Chai­tya Guru”, the inner guide.

Disciple (1) : In Vaishnavite literature it means the portion, – Amsha – of the Divine which guides a man. It is called Chaitya Guru.

Sri Aurobindo : I wanted to know if the word has a fixed connotation. If it has not, then one can use the word “Chaitya Purusha” for the “Psychic being”. It has the advantage of carrying both the functions of the Psychic being : it is the direct portion of the Divine in the human and it is also the being that is behind the Chitta.

(A.B. Purani, Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, first series, p 259, dated 28th jan, 1926)

A disciple’s experience

Satyendra Thakore: I saw a small bright/flame as big as a man’s thumb in the region of the heart. What is it?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the psychic fire kindled in the heart. The psychic being is described by the Upanishads as of the size of a thumb angushthamatrah purusho’ntaratma — it may manifest first as this psychic flame.

(Satyendra Thakore. Their Deep Compassion, 8th April, 1938)

Sri Aurobindo on the psychic being

The psychic being is in the heart centre in the middle of the chest (not in the physical heart, for all the centres are in the middle of the body), but it is deep behind. When one is going away from the vital into the psychic, it is felt as if one is going deep deep down till one reaches that central place of the psychic. The surface of the heart centre is the place of the emotional being; from there one goes deep to find the psychic. The more one goes, the more intense becomes the psychic happiness which you describe.

(Letters on Yoga, Triple transformation)

The psychic being in Savitri

The first line of this verse describes the psychic being as being “no bigger than the thumb of man”.  This is an allusion to verse 2.1.12 of the Katha Upanishad which says “The Purusha, of the size of a thumb, dwells in the body(Realizing Him as) the Lord of the past and the future, one does not (henceforward) want to protect oneself. This verily is that (thou seekest).

She puts forth a small portion of herself,
A being no bigger than the thumb of man
Into a hidden region of the heart
To face the pang and to forget the bliss,
To share the suffering and endure earth’s wounds
And labour mid the labour of the stars.
This in us laughs and weeps, suffers the stroke,
Exults in victory, struggles for the crown;
Identified with the mind and body and life,
It takes on itself their anguish and defeat,
Bleeds with Fate’s whips and hangs upon the cross,
Yet is the unwounded and immortal self
Supporting the actor in the human scene.
Through this she sends us her glory and her powers,
Pushes to wisdom’s heights, through misery’s gulfs;
She gives us strength to do our daily task
And sympathy that partakes of others’ grief
And the little strength we have to help our race,
We who must fill the role of the universe
Acting itself out in a slight human shape
And on our shoulders carry the struggling world.
This is in us the godhead small and marred;
In this human portion of divinity
She seats the greatness of the Soul in Time
To uplift from light to light, from power to power,
Till on a heavenly peak it stands, a king.

(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book VII, Canto V)

See also

  1. Psychic Transformation
  2. The elusive touch of the psychic being
  3. The psychic joy derived from a selfless act
  4. The Nachiketa fire sacrifice
  5. How to awaken the soul (psychic being)?
  6. Wikipedia entry on Psychic Being


Click on the pictures to go to the SABDA catalog. SABDA ships internationally.



Emergence of the Psychic Being

79 thoughts on “Psychic being (chaitya purusha)

  1. Loup Kibiloki

    I’d like to tell you that “The Psychic Being” is a great friend, faithfull, limpid, never deceiving, a delightful goldmine of essential, practical knowledge. No, this is not advertising, it’s from the heart. This is the book of one’s spiritual destiny. Don’t leave home – and don’t come back – without it 🙂 I have it in my possession since the beginning of the nineties. This book is a perfect teacher. So simple, so clear, so practical. I’ve read or I came into contact with I don’t know how many books in my life, and I’ve been around, but I never found knowledge as absolutly essential, clear, efficient, sans détour, as in that book. It’s about what we really are and how to become what we really are. It’s warm. It’s beautiful. It’s smiling. It’s laughing. It is deep and silent. It’s joyful. It doesn’t fool around and it’s not ascetic. It’s immobile. It’s moving. It’s tranquil. It’s sweet. It’s for ever. It’s sanathana dharma. It’s the chaitya purusha. It’s you. Thanks to those who compiled it. It’s a living blessing.

  2. Pingback: How to awaken the soul (psychic being)? « Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  3. kalpana

    ”…It is in a fourth dimension, an inner dimension. But it is in that region, the region somewhat behind the solar plexus…”

    The Mother refers to the solar plexus. I am interested to know more about this reference.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      You could search for the “fourth dimension” in the Collected Works of the Mother.
      In the Upanishads, the psychic zone is referred to as the Dahara Akasha.
      The corresponding technique of concentrating there is called Dahara Vidya

      1. kalpana

        Thanks for rply. It was the reference to the ‘solar plexus’ that I was wanting to clarify.
        Traditionally, this is taken to mean the region of Manipura chakra. But Mother frequently refers to the heart, so I am trying to clarify.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        Agree. There is some confusion about the references to the “solar plexus” made by both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I think it should be assumed to be the heart.

    2. Omkarnath

      I think this must be the mistake of ashram press, while converting from Pdf to html this mistake must have taken place & also type correction in olden days were done manually so this can be the improper proof reading also.

  4. Sandeep Post author

    A related quote from

    “Penetrating deep down into the center of one’s own being one finds a nameless transparency, an awake space filled by all the world, from one’s own thoughts and feelings and body to the stars in the heavens. This still, spacious no-thingness is the heart of everyone’s being. Thus to find this no-thingness is to see that one is fundamentally united with all beings. At root there is only one – the One.”
    D.T. Suzuki (1870-1966)

    1. V. Arvind

      This Suzuki quotation is superb! I went to Luthar’s site and saw also the reference to Ramana there.

      Relatedly, I wonder if Ramana’s “heart” located, as he has said several times, two inches to the right of the centre is the same as the psychic being which is felt somewhat lower down in the center of the solar plexus (by Integral Yoga practitioners).

      Still others (some who follow a sufi path in India) meditate on the physical heartbeats and feel the presence intensely there.

      Has Sri Aurobindo or the Mother said or written anything about this?

  5. ipsa

    “The growth of the Psychic Being dominating the whole consciousness can develop visions, till it penetrates the inconscient and rebuilds the entire being. As in the case of Champaklal, the soul gets perfected by the process of life itself and the very sincerity of the effort will carry it forward, until one synthesizes the conscious with the superconscious. The entire being is then filled with one idea, one consciousness – the consciousness of the Divine Presence and it even tends to lose all distinction from the surroundings and to feel one with them.

    This is the principal difference between those who believe in God with their intellect and those who believe in God with their whole being — between knowing from outside and knowing with an inner self-identification with the Divine. The difference between ordinary people and the Mother’s Child Champaklal lies here. It is a very difficult thing to believe in God with the entire being. It requires a true hero and an inner warrior to do so. ”

    (From Visions of Champaklal by Champaklal)

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Like all quotes, this quote of the Guru must be balanced with a quote which speaks of the danger of blind faith (i.e. incredulity) otherwise someone might assume that “believe in God with the whole being” implies one must “stop thinking or questioning”.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      The psychic being “comes to the front” as Sri Aurobindo called it. The physical body feels lighter, the heart is suffused with bliss and the mind is brimming with an active silence. One feels no insecurity, no fear, no sorrow, no grievances, no ambition to outdo others, no sentimentalism.

      I have listed the after-effects at Psychic Transformation

  6. Pingback: The Psychic Being « mysticservant

    1. Sandeep Post author

      I don’t know. You tell me! I just looked up the “egypt scarab” and it seems they associated the scarab beetle with rebirth (and the God Khepri) because its action of keeping balls of dung represents the forces which move the sun.

      Does Egyptian literature specifically say that the scarab is awakened by concentrating one’s awareness in the region of the heart?

  7. amsha

    They often depict it in blue (could be different) and the ball it rolls as the Sun, sometimes beetle could have wings that might correspond to psychic Flame.
    I have seen it drawn on sarcophagus at the British Museum, just in place where Psychic Being is. Amulet placed thought to be helping in weighting heart and going where you wish after death. Meaning of the word (kh)pr is “to be,” “to exist,” “to become,” “to create,” “to emanate,” “to transform”. What is written in the Book of the Dead may be applied to it as well, thou translations are biased and my understanding limited.

  8. amsha

    Chapter XXX. of the Per-em-hru, or, Book of the Dead, has frequently in the papyrus copies, a picture of the soul of the dead in adoration before a scarabæus set upright upon a support. This chapter is entitled: “Chapter of not allowing the heart of a man to have opposition made to it in the divine inferior region.” It says [76]towards the end: “This chapter is to be said over a scarabæus of hard stone, formed and set in gold, which should be placed in the breast of the man, after the opening of the mouth has been made and the head anointed with oil; then the following words shall be said over him in right of a magical charm: ‘My heart which comes to me from my mother, my heart which is necessary to me for my transformations.'” See, Appendix A.
    The whole of this chapter was frequently engraved upon the large scarabs, which were placed in the breasts of the mummies in place of the heart.
    The LXIVth chapter of the Book of the Dead, is one of the oldest of the entire collection and line 34 et seq., uses the same language as to the heart, and says: “Put it on a scarabæus of hard stone set in gold, in the breast of the mummy, having engraved on it: ‘My heart is my [77]mother,'” etc. This chapter is fuller than the other just cited.
    Scarabs. By Issak Myer, LL.B.

  9. abhijit

    what does self realisation mean say eg in a ramana maharishi and compared to aurobindos realisation .
    . did the vedantins and tantra experts know about the psychic being and what happens to the psychic being of those who get moksha

    1. Sandeep Post author

      > what does self realisation mean say eg in a ramana maharishi and compared to aurobindo’s realisation.

      I am no expert on Ramana Maharshi, but there are many possible realizations possible according to Sri Aurobindo.
      1) One can feel the Divine emerging from the heart and enveloping the physical body, which is known as the psychic transformation.
      2) One can experience the Divine in the form of the Timeless Self, which is called Nirvana.
      3) One can also experience the Divine in Time as if it were animating the world and all beings within it, and this is called Cosmic Consciousness.

      I can’t find the exact quote by Sri Aurobindo on this topic right now but if you peruse The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Letters on Yoga, you will be find several discussions on this topic.

      > did the vedantins and tantra experts know about the psychic being and what happens to the psychic being of those who get moksha

      The psychic being is called the Chaitya Purusha in the Upanishads, which also recommend meditating on the heart centre as a technique of Yoga.

      The psychic being always exist in another domain of consciousness but it is not in contact with our mind and body and hence we do not feel it’s presence and guidance in daily life. When you win moksha (release), the Kundalini is activated and the psychic being begins influencing our mind and demolishing our heart’s desires one by one. All troubles fall off after which one turns into a puppet of the Divine.

      In most people, the psychic being stays veiled behind the ego but when we consciously attempt to subdue our egoistic impulses, then the psychic being begins to peep from behind the curtain and provide hints on what path to take in life. During such psychic moments, one may feel moments of unconditional joy.

  10. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Now I give Radhasoami Faith view of Creation Theory. In Sar Bachan (Poetry) composed by His Holiness Soamiji Maharaj the August Founder of Radhasoami Faith the details of creation and dissolution has been described very scientifically. It is written in this Holy Book: Only He Himself (Supreme Father)and none else was there. There issued forth a great current of spirituality, love and grace (In scientific terminology we may call this current as gravitational wave). This is called His Mauj (Divine Ordainment). This was the first manifestation of Supreme Being. This Divine Ordainment brought into being three regions, viz., Agam, Alakh, and Satnam of eternal bliss. Then a current emerged with a powerful sound. (first big bang) It brought forth the creation of seven Surats or currents of various shades and colours (in scientific terminology we may call it electromagnetic waves). Here the true Jaman or coagulant was given (in scientific terminology this coagulant may be called as weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force). Surats, among themselves, brought the creation into being.
    These currents descended down further and brought the whole universe/multi verse into being i.e. black holes, galaxies etc. were born.

  11. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Modus Operandi of Radhasoami Faith View of Creation – Part II
    Here the true Jaman (coagulant) was given. The spirituality coagulated as it were, and Surats (spirit entities), among themselves, brought the creation into being. Thereafter, another Jaman (coagulant) was given. Regions from Agam Lok (Inaccessible Region) to Sat Lok (True Region) were created during the first creational process. That creation is true. That region is eternal. There is no trace of evil and suffering. This was the creation for many Yugas and ages. Then there appeared a dark coloured current
    That current appeared like a dark coloured stone set in a white one and was absorbed in the Darshan of True Being. Then there appeared two Kalas i.e. currents (viz. Niranjan and Jyoti) and they together evolved the creation of five Tattwas (elements) four Khans (species, categories of life) and three Gunas (qualities). The three Gunas (qualities) brought about the expansion and proliferation . They created Rishis and Munis (sages and holy men), gods and godly human beings and demons. Egotism then increased much. Niranjan separated himself from the rest, putting the burden of looking after the creation on them. Nobody could know of Niranjan. Even the Vedas referred to Him as Neti Neti (Not this, Not this). They did not get Darshan (Vision) of Niranjan. They made conjectures. Then how can anybody have knowledge of Sat Purush (True Being), Source of Niranjan and all that exists. (Source: Sar Bachan Poetry)

    Scientifically here Jyoti represent three Fundamental Forces of Quantum Mechanics i.e. electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. NIRANJAN is the fourth Fundamental Force i.e. Gravitation Force.

  12. abhijit

    what is the future regarding the supramental will few people acquire the light body and then gradually will all people on earth get light bodies or only those practicing integral yoga at a very high level only get the light body and will those who get light body remain even after mahapralaya and what about moksha those who get moksha do they have to come back after mahapralaya

    1. Sandeep Post author

      I don’t spend any time speculating on such lofty questions regarding the supramental, mahapralaya, etc. Knowledge in the spiritual path is given on a need-to-know basis. When you are inwardly ready for something, the knowledge will be automatically disclosed to you in a vision.

      Until then, one has to focus on bread-and-butter issues. One has to learn to live better by regulating food consumption and speech, sleeping well, extending the duration of mental silence, etc. When you reach a certain stable point in the spiritual path, your intuition awakens and automatically provides you with the answers to the questions as required.

      The following passage from another post is relevant in this context :

      The misplaced curiosity trap
      Drifting into spirituality with the relatively simple aims of pursuing something of lasting value, something useful to others, or something better than joining the rat race, some young people get distracted by the futile search for answers to irrelevant questions. They want to know more and more about life after death, rebirth, past life regression, or forecasting the future. They start resolving the apparent discrepancies in the karma theory. They want to know whether an evil man can be reborn as an animal. They want to know whether it is possible to communicate with the dead. They want to know whether some yogis can really do without food, air or sleep, and if so, why and how. They want to know whether yoga can help in conquering death. The result is that they are lost in a maze. These are not good points to begin forays into spirituality.”


  13. abhijit

    question to anirudh kumar satsangi what is the relation between the supramental and sachidananda and the anami sat lok of the radhasoamis and have you see these lokas in meditation

  14. Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    According to Radhasoami Faith, the entire universe is broadly classified as consisting of three regions i.e. Region of Pure Spirituality (Nirmal Chetan Desh), Subtle Material Region and Gross Material Region. Suprametal state relates to Subtle Material Region. Sachidananda (Sat+Chit+Anand) and Anami Sat Lok of Radhasoamis are very close rather identical. What I have seen in meditation should have very little concern for others. Sorry Abhijit and thank you very much for your very nice questions. I hope my reply will satisfy you.

  15. Sumitra Pattnaik

    Dear Mr Sandeep,
    I have written some psychic experiences in my books when was working in the Tresor Nursing Home as a reiki therapist/master. It all had come to me during healing the patients using Alternative medicine therapy or even teaching reiki to them. One of the books named as HEALING EXPERIENCES ( Psychicisation, Spiritualisation And Supramentalisation ) is already published by me. I would like to know your comments on that.
    Thanking You
    With Regards

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Hi Sumitra,

      I am honored to be asked to opine on your book, but I don’t think my comments would matter if your experiences are genuine. Further, I can’t find the book anywhere. Is it published by SABDA? I am guessing it is self-published?

      1. Sumitra Pattnaik

        Hello Sandeep !
        You can find the book with Vak.
        Yes it is self published.
        But the psychic being is only introduced in this book as the experiences were revealed before me through healing.
        The elaborations are written in PSYCHIC DISCOVERY IN THE PHYSICAL BODY which is yet to be published.
        Thank you for showing interest in this.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        I don’t live in Pondicherry so I can’t go to the Vak book shop right away to check out the book. Perhaps others who visit the blog can do so if they are interested.

  16. mike

    “the Kundalini is activated and the psychic being begins influencing our mind and demolishing our heart’s desires one by one”

    Hi Sandeep,
    l assume in the above your talking about Sri Aurobindo’s version of the Kundalini experience, as in the descent from above – which is my experience of it, though SA does say it has to come from above and from below in the yoga.
    Just to make it clear, some years ago l believe l had the vision of the Vedic Agni in meditation and then some time later l started feeling the Descent of Peace, Force etc…
    So l assume from this [Spiritual Opening] l might have contacted my Pyschic being first and then the flow from above started.
    Although, l think you might be referring to the rising of Kundalini from below and then the Psychic influence takes place. Can you offer some clarification on this.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Hi Mike

      My comment above which you allude to:
      “When you win moksha (release), the Kundalini is activated and the psychic being begins influencing our mind and demolishing our heart’s desires one by one”
      was in context of the general process of transformation, which can transpire over days or months, until the whole being becomes liberated.

      I did not have any specific ordering in mind. Some individuals may experience the heart opening first, others a descent first, and yet others may experience an ascent first. It’s not easy to characterize. One individual recently experienced a partial ascent which cleared off urges in the lower nature.

      Sri Aurobindo says in the Letters on Yoga, section on Triple Transformation.

      The two feelings are both of them right – they indicate the two necessities of the sadhana. One is to go inward and open fully the connection between the psychic being and the outer nature. The other is to open upward to the Divine Peace, Force, Light, Ananda above, to rise up into it and bring it down into the nature and the body. Neither of these two movements, the psychic and the spiritual, is complete without the other. If the spiritual ascent and descent are not made, the spiritual transformation of the nature cannot happen; if the full psychic opening and connection is not made, the transformation cannot be complete.

      There is no incompatibility between the two movements; some begin the psychic first, others the spiritual first, some carry on both together. The best way is to aspire for both and let the Mother’s Force work it out according to the need and turn of the nature.

      You may also want to check the pages on
      Ascent experience
      Descent experience
      Psychic transformation

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Abhijit: does the pschic being only open for those who follow integral yoga please clarify

      No, it opens for everybody, except that they convey it with different terminology. Some will say the heart Chakra opened and I felt an outpouring of bliss, while others say I found my Self, etc.

  17. Sumitra Pattnaik

    I will be really obliged if would know that if anybody really had the psychic realisations at any time in their life ?
    This answer is expected not only from Sandeep but from anyone participating in this conversations.

  18. ipi

    Psychic Being

    First, the development of the psychic being has a double result which is concomitant.That is with the development of the psychic being,the sensitivity of the being grows.And with the growth of sensitivity there is also the growth of the capacity for suffering;but there is the counterpart,that is,to the extent to which one is in relation with the psychic being,one faces the circumstances of life in an altogether different way and with a kind of inner freedom which makes one capable of withdrawing from a circumstance and not feeling the shock in the ordinary can face the difficulty or outer things with calm,peace,and sufficient inner knowledge not to be troubled.So,on one side you are more sensitive and on the other you have more strength to deal with the sensitivity.
    (Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 7, p 21)

    It is not the psychic being that suffers for personal reasons,it is the mind,the vital and the ordinary consciousness of ignorant man.This is because the contact between the outer consciousness and the psychic consciousness is not well established.He in whom the contact has been well established is always happy.

    The psychic being works with perseverance and ardour for the union to be made an accomplished fact,but it never complains and knows how to wait for the hour of realisation.
    (Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 14, p 335)

  19. mike

    I haven’t seen any mention of the ‘reversal of consciousness’ mention by the Mother. I assume Apparently the when it happens we are on the inside looking out instead of the outside looking in – according to Mother’s words.
    I assume this might be the same as the Psychic coming to the front or the psychic Realisation itself.
    One thing l didn’t realise is that the Psychic doesn’t develop or grow itself [between lives as said by SA above]. L always thought that it would grow as we do physically. I’m sure l read somewhere that the Psychic Being in people is of different ages.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      I am not sure I understand the question. Reversal of Consciousness is covered in Collected Works (volume:page) 3:134; 4:19,357; 7:l95-96 ,272; 8112,170-74,402-05;

      Reversal of consciousness occurs when the inner being (psychic) subdues the unruly outer being (mind, vital, physical). This is called a “reversal” because it is opposite to the conventional case where the outer being is suppressing the psychic impulses emanating from the inner being.

      Mike: I’m sure l read somewhere that the Psychic Being in people is of different ages.

      That is true. Some souls have just evolved out of an animal life while others have been around for numerous incarnations. The Mother told someone that he or she has an “old soul” but I can’t find the reference right now.

      Nolini Kanta Gupta has an essay “Steps of the Soul” which can be found in his Collected Works volume 3. Here is the relevant excerpt:

      Each man has then a mission to fulfil, a role to play in the universe; a part he has been given to learn and take up in the cosmic Purpose which he alone is capable of executing and none other. This he has to learn and acquire through life-experiences, that is to say, not in one life, but in life after life. In fact, that is the meaning of the chain of lives that the individual has to pass through, namely, to acquire experiences and to gather out of them the thread – the skein of qualities and attributes, powers and capacities – for the pattern of life he has to weave. Now, the inmost being, the true personality, the central consciousness of the evolving individual is his psychic being. It is, as it were, a very tiny speck of light lying far behind the experiences in normal people. In grown up souls this psychic consciousness has an increased light – increased in intensity, volume and richness. Thus there are souls, old and new. Old and ancient are those that have reached or are about to reach the fullness of perfection; they have passed through a long past of innumerable lives and developed the most complex and yet the most integrated personality. New souls are those that are just emerged or emerging out of the mere physico-vital existence; these are like simple organisms, made of fewer constituents, referring mostly to the bodily life, with just a modicum of the mental. It is the soul, however, that grows with experiences and it is the soul that builds and enriches the personality. Whatever portion of the outer life, whatever element in the mind or vital or body succeeds in corning in contact with the psychic consciousness, that is to say, is able to come under its influence, is taken up and lodged there: it remains in the psychic ‘being as its living memory and permanent possession. It is such elements that form the basis, the groundwork upon which the structure of the integral and true personality is raised.

      1. Sandeep Post author

        The Mother told someone that he or she has an “old soul” but I can’t find the reference right now.

        I found the reference! The Mother said this to Mona Pinto, according to her daughter Gauri (“The Mother told my mother that I was a very old soul.”) as per this interview

      2. Manofflowerzz

        My question may be bordering upon the obsessive/compulsive track (, as well, my question is not original. I believe I may have heard it from this site but not this paper (as I couldn’t find the conversation in the comments here). And it corresponds with this topic:

        “Mike: I’m sure l read somewhere that the Psychic Being in people is of different ages.

        That is true. Some souls have just evolved out of an animal life while others have been around for numerous incarnations. The Mother told someone that he or she has an “old soul” but I can’t find the reference right now. ”

        My question is simply: can we know how old or young our psychic being is?

        I don’t really care about this, but the question came to mind this AM. I imagine a person would have to be of the same level of spiritual experience as the Mother and or Sri Aurobindo to be able determine such things.

  20. mike

    Sri Aurobindo : It is not the psychic being itself that develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the individual. It is these personalities in nature that are bound.”
    So, the developing soul referred to by nolini doesn’t refer to the PSYCHIC BEING, by the look of it.
    lt’sabit difficult to see what their talking about.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      True, terms are not always perfectly defined. In any case, one must be guided by experience rather than rigid definitions.

      See the difference between Jivatman, Spark—Soul and Psychic Being outlined on a different page. That might answer your question.

  21. mike

    Yes, the interview is interesting. Her father Udar was an old soul too. l remember him telling me that the Mother told him he’d been one of the caesars in rome. He said he forgot to ask Her which one LOL.

  22. amsha

    In both Judaism and Christianity, there is no biblical support of “soul immortality” as such.

    I searched through the Bible and found direct reference to the Divine
    in the heart. There is russian translation from ancient hebrew which
    sounds exactly the same “set eternity in the human heart”.
    Plus some words of wisdom related to the heart :

    10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
    11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also
    set eternity in the human heart;

    Ecclesiastes 3

    11 Он сделал все прекрасным в свое время; и притом вложил вечность в сердце их;

    Перевод Архимандрита Макария (1792 — 15 мая 1847)

    People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

    1 Samuel 16:7

    search your hearts and be silent.

    Psalm 4:4

    1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?
    2 The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;

    Psalm 15

    7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
    8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

    Psalm 16

    8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
    The commands of the LORD are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.

    Psalm 19

    8 I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.

    Psalm 40

    10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    Psalm 51

    7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
    8 Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

    Psalm 57

    25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

    Psalm 73

    1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
    my eyes are not haughty;
    I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
    2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

    Psalm 131

    23 Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.

    Proverbs 4

    25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
    but a kind word cheers it up.

    Proverbs 12

    2 A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the LORD weighs the heart.

    Proverbs 21

    20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
    or like vinegar poured on a wound,
    is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

    Proverbs 25

    19 As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.

    Proverbs 27

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

    Matthew 5:8

    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened

    Ephesians 1:18

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Amsha: In both Judaism and Christianity, there is no biblical support of “soul immortality”

      Thanks Amsha. This info has to be correlated with the comment thread here. That’s a whole new line of investigation!

      1. amsha

        I think it is true only as a general statement and doesn’t take into account Christian or Jewish mystics or individuals that in some way had come in contact with the Divine Consciousness.

  23. mike

    As Sri Aurobindo or The Mother said l believe [ can’t remember direct quote ] – when we make contact with the the Psychic Being we know we have always BEEN and always will BE. This is the experience of Eternity.

  24. Pingback: The History of Yoga | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  25. mike

    “This is the principal difference between those who believe in God with their intellect and those who believe in God with their whole being — between knowing from outside and knowing with an inner self-identification with the Divine”

    As said by Morpheus to Neo in the Matrix – ‘walking the Path is not the same as Knowing the Path’.

  26. Pingback: Ways of navigating this blog | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  27. Savarna

    Have you heard of chaitya purusha darshan? Could it be related to what some (such as Dr Raymond Moody) describes as a ‘shared death experience”?

  28. Pingback: Sri Aurobindo on Desire, Food and Sex | Brahmacharya & Related Topics

  29. mike

    l think l finally understand what SA mean’t by this:

    “Purani: Does the psychic being develop from birth to birth?

    Sri Aurobindo : It is not the psychic being itself that develops, but it guides the evolution of the individual being by increasing the psychic element in the nature of the individual. It is these personalities in nature that are bound.”

    From this next quote He implies that the Psychic Being [Psychic Person] puts forward a Psychic Personailty – and it’s this personality which develops and grows from birth to birth, if my understanding is correct….

    “These other person-powers in man, these beings of his being, are also veiled in their true entity, but they put forward temporary personalities which compose our outer individuality and whose combined superficial action and appearance of status we call ourselves: this inmost entity also, taking form in us as the psychic Person, puts forward a psychic personality which changes, grows, develops from life to life; for this is the traveller between birth and death and between death and birth, our nature parts are only its manifold and changing vesture.”
    The Life Divine (10th ed.), pp.225-7

  30. donsalmon

    Sri Aurobindo sometimes distinguished the “psychic entity” from the “psychic being” – the psychic entity does not itself evolve, but over time the psychic being or psychic personality develops. Hope that helps.

  31. Me

    Dear Sandeep,

    Somewhere on this website that you run (auromere) you have posted information about the possibility of one psychic being living in multiple bodies and even the possibility of a being from the overmental plane of existence entering and fusing with the psychic being! I would love to see that quote from the Mother again if you have any idea where it is it would be really helpful for me.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      This is hard to find now. Here is one

      … Also a fragment of the psychological personality may have been associated with a birth not ones own. One can say of a certain person of the past, “that was not myself, but a fragment of my psychological personality was present in him.” at

      I hope you are not planning to weaponize that quote in order to live in multiple bodies !

      1. Me

        “I hope you are not planning to weaponize that quote in order to live in multiple bodies !”

        Whaha Lol! Never thought about it but now that you bring it up…. I might just give it a try! 😉
        Just out of curiousity thought…. Why did you use the word weaponize? It just so happens to be that a part of my spiritual being is very restless and often takes on a millitary/warrior like temperament in order to combat lower vital drives and influx of nefarious vital/occult forces, sometimes with succes other times leading to counterproductive results. Did you sense it? Subliminal contact? Or just funny coincidence!

        What I also find interesting is that even though you failed to provide me the exact quote I was looking for, citing it would be too difficult for you to find it, the page on which the quote that you did provide me was written actually had the quote I was looking for in the comment section posted by none other then YOU! Another conincidence 🙂

        I will discuss the quote in another post for informational clearity.

    2. Mike

      The Mother goes into this in the agenda with satprem when says she had several contemporaneous (at the same time) incarnations a few times in her past lives. She says she actually had 4 incarnations around the time of Christ.

  32. Me

    Question: Can a psychic being take birth in two bodies?

    Mother: It is not quite so simple as that…. The psychic being is the result of evolution, that is to say, evolution of the divine Consciousness which spread into Matter and slowly lifted up Matter, made it develop to return to the Divine. The psychic being was formed by this divine centre progressively through all the births. There comes a time when it reaches a kind of perfection, perfection in its growth and formation. Then, most often, as it has an aspiration for realisation, for a greater perfection to manifest yet better the Divine, it generally draws towards itself a being from the involution, that is to say, one of those entities belonging to what Sri Aurobindo calls Overmind, who comes then to incarnate in this psychic being. It can be one of those entities men generally call gods, some kind of deities. And when this fusion occurs the psychic being naturally is magnified and shares in the nature of the being incarnated in it. And then it has the power to produce emanations. These beings have the power to produce emanations, that is to say, they project out of themselves a part of themselves which becomes independent and goes into others to incarnate itself. So there can be not only two, but three, four or five emanations. That depends upon cases, it can happen thus. That is to say, one can have the same origin, psychodivine, we might say. And generally when there are a number of emanations, the different persons feel themselves to be that being, and rightly so, for they carry in themselves something of that godhead: it is as though a part of the godhead has cast itself out of itself and become independent in another being. It is not a self-duplication but a kind of self-projection.

    (Collected Works of the Mother, vol. 5, p 264)

    Some questions I have about this interesting quote:
    “There comes a time when it reaches a kind of perfection, perfection in its growth and formation. Then, most often, as it has an aspiration for realisation, for a greater perfection to manifest yet better the Divine, it generally draws towards itself a being from the involution, that is to say, one of those entities belonging to what Sri Aurobindo calls Overmind, who comes then to incarnate in this psychic being.”

    1. Why is involution described as the overmental plane? I thought that that which is involved usually in aurobindian spirituality the inconscient?
    2. Is the incarnation of an overmental being into the pshycic being an instrumental stage in supramentalisation of the pyshical being? “for a greater perfection to manifest yet better the Divine”, isn’t the supramentalistion the fully awakened divine manifesting into the physical plane of existence? It would seem this incarnation business is either closely related or some form of a preceding stage, yet outside this quote I have never encountered anything like it anywhere except in my own spiritual visions.
    3. Can this fusion be undone? I don’t want to be stuck to Hephaestus forever!

    “And when this fusion occurs the psychic being naturally is magnified and shares in the nature of the being incarnated in it.”

    4. Magnified in what sense? Its presence in the everyday operational consciousness, its capacity to reflect the ultimate divine?
    5. Certain overmental beings have temperaments that at first sight appear incompatible with pshycic tranquillity. For example, what if the deity in question to incarnate would be a Rudra like energy?

    6. Does anyone now other writings, perhaps even from others then the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on this subject?

    Question number two is the one I am most interested in, what place this phenomon has in the greater journey for humanity to trascend its own existence and become supramental forces.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      (Answer 1) Involution as a term signifies descent of the Higher plane into the Lower. It is used in the context of the Overmental here, but can be any higher plane

      I don’t have the answers to your other questions. I avoid getting into discussions around “supramentalization” and related concepts which I have not experienced or have no intuition about. Such discussions usually degenerate into meaningless exchanges of quotes gathered from here and there.

    2. mike

      Sri Aurobindo says something very similar in one of His letters.

      “An incarnation is something more, something special and individual to
      the individual being. It is the substitution of the Person of a divine being
      for the human person and an infiltration of it into all the movements so
      that there is a dynamic personal change in all of them and in the whole
      nature; not merely a change of the character of the consciousness or general
      surrender into its hands, but a subtle intimate personal change. Even
      when there is an incarnation from the birth, the human elements have to be
      taken up, but when there is a descent, there is a total conscious substitution.
      This is a long, subtle and persistent process. The incarnating Person
      first overshadows as an influence, then enters into the centres one after the
      other sometimes in the same form, sometimes in different forms, then
      takes up all the nature and its actions. What you describe does not correspond
      to this process; it seems to be an endeavour to build the gods in yourself
      in the Vedic sense and the Vedic manner. That can bring, if it succeeds,
      their powers and a sense of their presence; it cannot bring about an
      incarnation. An incarnation is destined, is chosen for you; the human person
      cannot choose or create an incarnation for himself by his own personal
      will. To attempt it is to invite a spiritual disaster.
      One thing must be said — that an incarnation is not the object of this
      yoga; it is only a condition or means towards the object. The one and the
      only aim we have before us is to bring down the supramental Consciousness
      and the supramental Truth into the world; the Truth and nothing but
      the Truth is our aim, and if we cannot embody this Truth, a hundred incarnations
      do not matter”

  33. Neelesh Marik

    In this talk Dr Pandey makes an interesting point: when faced with an adverse or hostile force the Self can laugh and say ‘You fellow, behind your mask is none else than the Divine’. (36th minute). The ability to do that is a good indication of the onset of psychicization, I think.

  34. mike

    Thanks neelesh, believe it or not, l’ve been using these exact words today. The idea just popped into my head (probably SA and M’s influence). An incredible synchronicity.
    Anyway, it’s definitely something that works for me. No matter how hostile a thing is, the Divine is always hiding behind the lgnorance – all in all as Sri Ramakrishna liked to say – a mask indeed..
    Of course, we still need the actual vision of the Divine Presence to know for sure.

  35. Geetha Gupta

    Sandeep ji,
    At one place you have written “The psychic being is the evolving soul within us” and later quoted Sri Aurobindo “It is not the psychic being itself that develops”
    I am confused. Please clarify.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      The nomenclature is confusing at times but assume there are two entities : the presence of the Divine in the human being, and the evolving soul.

      In one place, Sri Aurobindo says

      The antarātman is the soul, the portion of the Divine that is at the inmost basis of the evolving individual and supports the mind and life and body which are the instrumental parts of nature through which it tries to grow from the material Inconscience towards the divine Light and Immortality which are its proper being. The limitations of its instruments impose upon it an acceptance of the lower movements and a compromise between soul and nature which retard this movement even while it gets its means of advance from that interchange. The psychic being is the soul-form or soul-personality developing through this evolution and passing from life to life till all is ready for the higher evolution beyond the Ignorance.

      Go through this page


Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s