Few are those individuals who were conceived through a consecrated and conscious act of prayer and dedication by the parents. Those individuals are blessed with the opportunity to live a life of dedication and devotion.

Most people, however, are conceived without much thought or consideration going into the process, at least in terms of creating a pure, focused, dedicated, and consecrated process of conception. Many people of course consciously choose to have children, but do not go further than that they are willing for a child to be conceived.

We frequently remark on the physical resemblance that the offspring has to one or other of the parents, or we see a combination of physical characteristics we can trace variously to one or the other of the parents or their own forbears. What we do not often acknowledge is that the vital nature is also often carried from one generation to the next, not through physical genetic transmission, but through the influence of the vital atmosphere, values, pressures and actions of the parents and other significant individuals and situations, both on the prenatal being, and on the child as it is growing.

Many find it is easier to see the vital difficulties and defects in others than in oneself. A deep examination of the subconscient drives and motivations can help the seeker uncover these springs of action and latent powers. Yet it is also possible for the individual to look at the vital nature of parents, grandparents, friends, etc. and recognise to what extent they see those same qualities and motives active within themselves. Without trying to ‘judge’ others, they use this correspondence as a tool for inner growth and understanding. With the recognition so provided it becomes somewhat easier to trace the roots back within oneself and find ways to neutralize or transform those that retard the spiritual progress.

The Mother writes: ” I have said what kind of aspiration ought to be there in the parents before the birth; but as I said, this does not happen even once in a hundred thousand instances. The willed conception of a child is extremely rare; mostly it is an accident. Among innumerable parents it is quite a small minority that even simply bothers about what a child could be; they do not even know that what the child will be depends on what they are. It is a very small elite which knows this. Most of the time things go as they can; anything at all happens and people don’t even realise what is happening. So, in these conditions how do you expect to be born with a vital being sufficiently pure to be of help to you? One is born with a slough to clean before one begins to live. And once you have made a good start on the way to the inner transformation and you go down to the subconscient root of the being — that exactly which comes from parents, from atavism — well, you do see what it is! All, almost all difficulities are there, there are very few things added to existence after the first years of life. This happens at any odd moment; if you keep bad company or read bad books, the poison may enter you; but there are all the imprints deep-rooted int he subconscient, the dirty habits you have and against which you struggle. For instance, there are people who can’t open their mouth without telling a lie, and they don’t always do this deliberately (that is the worst of it), or people who can’t come in touch with others without quarrelling, all sorts of stupidities — they are there in the subconscient, deeply rooted. Now, when you have a goodwill, externally you do your best to avoid all that, to correct it if possible; you work, you fight; then become aware that this thing always keep coming up, it comes up from some part which escapes your control. But if you enter this subconscient, if you let your consciousness infiltrate it, and look carefully, gradually you will discover all the sources, all the origins of all your difficulties; then you will begin to understand what your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers were, and if at a certain moment you are unable to control yourself, you will understand, ‘I am like that because they were like that.’ “

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Chapter 6, Some Answers and Explanations, pp. 150-151

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 19 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.