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Growing Within (The Psychology of Inner Development)

Growing Within (The Psychology of Inner Development)
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Item Code: NAZ536
Author: Aurobindo and the Mother
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788170583158
Pages: 224
Other Details: 7.50 X 5.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.2 kg

This book aims at shedding some light on the meaning, nature and processes of inner development. Its purpose is to help seekers in understanding and recognising the processes and experiences of inner growth, so as to serve, in some measure, as a guide to those who may not have yet found a personal teacher and mentor.

In order to make the book meaningful to all seekers of growth irrespective of their personal belief systems, the passages included in the compilation have been selected from the viewpoint of the psychological nature of their content, dealing with inner growth as an experiential process. Though based on Sri Aurobindo’s yoga, the focus is on the universal psychological elements and principles of inner growth, the understanding and validation of which rests on personal experience, introspection and intuition rather than on mental beliefs, although beliefs can help or hinder the understanding. For this reason, features of the growth process peculiar to Sri Aurobindo’s yoga have not been treated in the book, though allusions to such unique features will be found in some of the passages included in the compilation.

Explanations of special terms and concepts contained in the passages will be found in the Glossary at the end of the book. Some of the concepts are also dealt with in the Introduction that follows.

The passages compiled here have been drawn mostly from Sri Aurobindo’ s letters to his disciples and the Mother’s talks to the children of the Ashram. This accounts for their informal style and for the ellipses, pauses, repetitions, etc. which are found in many of the passages.

Apart from the limited exposition of the subject-matter in the Introduction, the psychology of inner development has been presented here in an implicit and non-systematic manner by way of the quoted passages. Though an explicit and systematic exposition, paraphrasing and elaborating upon the contents of the quoted passages might have been more appealing to the intellect, the original words of a Master have a unique value and can impart far more than a mere intellectual understanding. The receptive reading of words which emanate from such a Master and which are instilled with a consciousness infinitely higher than our own can, besides conveying ideas, effectively serve to elevate the consciousness of the reader, thereby actually inducing inner growth. A moment or two of quiet concentration prior to reading, with an aspiration to be open to the consciousness behind the words, is apt to enhance one’s receptivity. It is hoped that the compilation will thus be helpful not only in understanding but also in fostering inner development.


According to Sri Aurobindo, "it is fundamentally an evolution of consciousness that has been taking place in Nature’"’.' The inner growth of the human being is simply a continuation of the evolution of consciousness which has hitherto resulted successively in the emergence of Life out of Matter and of Mind out of Life. In other words, consciousness has developed ever higher forms of its manifestation on earth from the mineral to the plant, to the animal, to man the mental being. What is called inner growth in this book refers to the evolution of consciousness beyond Mind.

Prior to the appearance of the human or mental being, evolution has been a slow, subconscious process. The emergence of Mind marks the beginning of a new process of evolution by which the human being, through a conscious will and aspiration for inner growth, becomes a conscious participant and collaborator in the evolution of consciousness. Thus inner growth is a process of conscious evolution. Any system of proven methods for achieving inner growth is yoga; for yoga is "a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the potentialities latent in the being...."Regarding the two modes of evolution subconscious evolution through the processes of Nature and conscious evolution through Yoga - Sri Aurobindo writes.

"All Nature is an attempt at a progressive revelation of the concealed Truth ‘But what Nature aims at for the mass in a slow evolution, Yoga effects for the individual by a rapid revolution." "their aim is one in the end. The generalisation of Yoga in humanity must be the last victory of Nature over her own delays and concealments. Even as now by the progressive mind in Science she seeks to make all mankind fit for the full development of the mental life, so by Yoga must she inevitably seek to make all mankind fit for the higher evolution, the second birth, the spiritual existence.’

Even after the emergence of Mind, the growth of consciousness in the human being continues to be a more or less unconscious process, because the roots of Matter, Life and Mind lie in the Inconscient out of which they have evolved. The first step for emerging out of the primeval unconsciousness is to develop a conscious ego - a separate and independent individuality. So long as an individuality has not been formed, the human being remains an amorphous entity, more or less fused with the unconscious totality of existence. It is by the development of a conscious ego " , .individualisation of being in becoming’" - that a person becomes an individual. Ego is the identification of our being with the superficial, outer self made up of the body, the vital nature and the mind. Due to the ego, a certain formation of physical, vital and mental experience is distinguished from the rest of the being and is regarded as the "self". Thus, the ego serves to bring about the emergence from unconsciousness through a progressive consciousness (awareness) of the physical, vital and mental aspects of the being.

Once the separative ego has been adequately developed, evolution of consciousness can be accelerated through growth in a different dimension - that which lies in the transcendence of the ego, liberation from the ignorant identification with one’s superficial nature, and the discovery of the true Self. Inner growth, thus, represents a new dimension of evolution.

Most of what is today called "personal growth", aimed at by various psychotherapeutic approaches (such as Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy, Rational-Emotive Therapy, etc.) and by the various techniques associated with the Human-Potential Movement (such as Encounter Group, Sensitivity Training, Assertiveness Training, etc.) pertains to what has just been described above as the development of the ego and individuality. On the other hand, inner growth, aimed at by Eastern and Western spiritual approaches (such as Yoga, Zen, Sufism, Christian Mysticism, etc.), consists of "‘transpersonal" development beyond the ego-state, and represents, in varying degrees, a reversal of the normal, ego-bound state of consciousness. It is therefore imperative to distinguish between personal growth and inner growth.

**Sample Pages**

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