When they were asked how they develop their most inspired concepts or inventions, noted personalities such as Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla made it clear that it is not through some laborious process of thought, but through an inspiration, a vision, a process of understanding that is outside the normal function of the mind-life-body in its limited functionality. Similar reports come from artists, composers, and visionaries who have been recognised as the leading lights in the development of human progress and culture.

It becomes clear that the progress of humanity in all these fields of endeavour comes about through the influence of powers and forces acting beyond the normal human range, but interacting with our human instrumentality and providing guidance, direction and specific focus to the efforts. Even if we look at the developments of physical culture, such as the peak of gymnastics, the training of the instrument only takes the gymnast so far and at some point, there has to be a total reliance on the working of a force of coordination, timing and action that goes beyond the struggle of physical effort. We see leaders in all fields who rely on the ability to motivate and inspire through a force that goes beyond the normal daily range of our external lives.

Yoga psychology describes in detail the processes involved and the interaction that takes place. The chakras, the occult centers of energy, are the portals through which various energetic movements can enter into the human mind, life and body and act upon them. The chakras, however, are very much closed off for most people, blocked or only allowing very small energy flow through them. Yogic practices tend to open these centres and allow a more pervasive and powerful action to take place. In the integral yoga, this involves the opening of the psychic being deep within and the contact with the inner mind, life and body as well as with the higher mental and spiritual ranges beyond the mind.

Sri Aurobindo describes this inner working as taking place “behind the veil”, a concept he uses to illustrate that our fixation on the outer world, outer life, outer personality represents a very limited understanding of the full significance of life, similar to the fact that during daytime the veil of the outer world hides from us, and distracts us from, the immensity of the universes, galaxies, stars, solar systems, etc. of which we are a part, and the significance of which remains very much hidden from our external selves. When the veil of the solar day is removed at night, we can gaze into the distances and open ourselves to the deeper and wider reality within which we exist.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The real Self is not anywhere on the surface but deep within and above. Within is the soul supporting an inner mind, inner vital, inner physical in which there is a capacity for universal wideness and with it for the things now asked for — direct contact with the truth of self and things, taste of a universal bliss, liberation from the imprisoned smallness and sufferings of the gross physical body. Even in Europe the existence of something behind the surface is now very frequently admitted, but its nature is mistaken and it is called subconscient or subliminal, while really it is very conscious in its own way and not subliminal but only behind the veil. It is, according to our psychology, connected with the small outer personality by certain centres of consciousness of which we become aware by yoga. Only a little of the inner being escapes through these centres into the outer life, but that little is the best part of ourselves and responsible for our art, poetry, philosophy, ideals, religious aspirations, efforts at knowledge and perfection. But the inner centres are for the most part closed or asleep — to open them and make them awake and active is one aim of yoga. As they open, the powers and possibilities of the inner being also are aroused in us; we awake first to a larger consciousness and then to a cosmic consciousness; we are no longer little separate personalities with limited lives but centres of a universal action and in direct contact with cosmic forces. Moreover, instead of being unwillingly playthings of the latter, as is the surface person, we can become to a certain extent conscious and masters of the play of nature — how far this goes depending on the development of the inner being and its opening upward to the higher spiritual levels. At the same time the opening of the heart centre releases the psychic being which proceeds to make us aware of the Divine within us and of the higher Truth above us.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.