There can be no permanent settlement of peace in the mind if the vital nature has not also attained quiet and peace. Many people take this as a reason to abandon active life and involvement in society and the world-at-large; yet, this is not a solution. The vital nature is very much driven by the Guna of Rajas, which involves action, passion, desire, and can be highly ambitious or aggressive when it is fully active. Abandonment of this action would be allowing the Guna of Tamas, inertia, darkness, indolence to become predominant. What is required is not the rising of Tamas, but the insertion of light and harmony into the action of Rajas, in other words, the infusion of a Sattwic element into the rajasic force. It is therefore necessary to use the quiet and peace that is entering into the mind, along with the separation of the witness-consciousness from the active nature to provide distance in the viewing of the actions of the vital nature, to begin to influence the vital nature toward one of harmonious, light-filled action rather than the impulsive, often violent motion of the unrefined rajasic nature.

The Mother writes: “Now, one quickly realises that there is another quietude which is necessary, and even very urgently needed — this is vital quietude. that is to say, the absence of desire. Only, the vital when not sufficiently developed, as soon as it is told to keep quiet, either goes to sleep or goes on strike; it says, ‘Ah! no. Nothing doing! I won’t go any farther. If you don’t give me the sustenance I need, excitement, enthusiasm, desire, even passion, I prefer not to move and I won’t do anything any longer.’ So there the problem becomes a little more delicate and perhaps even more difficult still; for surely, to fall from excitement into inertia is very far from being a progress! One must never mistake inertia or a somnolent passivity for calm.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter IV Growth of Consciousness First Steps and Foundation, pg. 76

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.