In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo devotes a chapter to the ‘sevenfold ignorance’. While we are fixated on our external mind, life and body and the life we lead in the external world, we remain ignorant of the forces at work, behind the scenes, to create what we call our being and personality, and to bring about the circumstances that we require in the external live to realise the purpose of our existence (even if we fail to recognise or acknowledge that purpose overtly). Our surface personality is like the tip of the iceberg, with the scope and mass of that iceberg hidden from our view. Sometimes through dream we get a glimpse of the greater life we lead. In some cases we meet people, in others we receive teachings and explore avenues of existence concealed from our outer person. When instances occur that break us free, even momentarily, from the fixation on the outer life, we can experience something of the greater truth of our existence, and we can recognise that what we think, do and feel in our outer being is caused by forces and circumstances at work on other planes or in other dimensions.

There are linkages between the inner life, the other planes and dimensions of existence and our outer life. The modality of the chakras act as a mechanism for the energy of physical, vital and mental worlds and forces to directly act upon and impact our external lives. To the extent that various chakras “open”, they bring energy for realisation and action into our lives. Even a small amount of energy coming through one or another chakra can have a dramatic impact on our lives.

Dr. Dalal observes: “Regarding the influence of the inner planes of consciousness on the outer life of the individual, Sri Aurobindo states: “It is a mistake to think that we live physically only, with the outer mind and life. We are all the time living and acting on other planes of consciousness, meeting others there and acting upon them, and what we do and feel and think there, the forces we gather, the results we prepare have an incalculable importance and effect, unknown to us, upon our outer life. Not all of it comes through, and what comes through takes another form in the physical — though sometimes there is an exact correspondence; but this little is at the basis of our outward existence. All that we become and do and bear in the physical life is prepared behind the veil within us.”

“It [the inner being] 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.”

Dr. Dalal continues: “To sum up, the inner growth of the individual, like the evolution of the universe, is the process by which the Supreme Consciousness — the Truth of Existence or the Reality of Being, immersed in the Inconscience of Matter through a prior process of involution, manifests itself in progressively higher states of its being due to the evolutionary thrust inherent in it.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Introduction, pp. xv-xvi

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 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.