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Definitions & Concepts for Human Science

   February 21, 2007

1) Spirituality - a way of life that has the only reference to the awakened Spirit inside.                            

Spirit is the substance of which the entire world or the universe is made. It is Self in transcendence, Soul in the cosmos, being in any person or object.

It is dormant and buried in man. It seldom awakes in Man. Descent of grace awakens it. Man awakens to the inner Spirit when grace descends from above, when, for a split second, he is ushered into the plane of Timelessness. Sri Aurobindo calls it grace of Spirit when the inner spirit, awakes by itself to peep into surface. The grace from above is always present in the atmosphere. It is a moment of spiritual evolution when the inner Spirit surfaces all by its own choice.

Man lives his life entirely with reference to his society. Well formed men have the family for their reference. He who has his own conscience as a point of reference is a conscientious citizen. Spirituality, understood as a way of life with reference to the inner Spirit transcends all these. To us conscience is God. Mahatma Gandhi called conscience, his inner voice. The Mother calls conscience adversary as yoga is in the plane of the universe while conscience is in the psychological plane of a society in which one lives. He who has his family as a constant point of reference is a better member of the society. As everywhere, he can be selfish or selfless. A selfish personality can serve his family as an extension of his own selfishness. A selfless individual can do so for the opposite reason. Spirituality too can have the two sides of positive and negative. Positively it makes for God. Negatively, spirituality gives one power to destroy. One may destroy individuals or ideals. He too serves God for a higher goal.

We can also have spirituality working in daily life. Such a one will be the finest human specimen. Symptoms of it are infinite patience and incapacity to react. At its height, spirituality gives Man the power to choose the moment of death. It is the expression of the Spirit in the spiritual plane. Also it acts in the planes of mind, vital and physical. These planes subdivide into consciousness above and substance below which mean surface and death. They also extend into subtle and causal planes as each of these planes exist at three levels.

Gross Plane                         ─          Subtle Plane       ─       Causal Plane   

1. Mind                                         " Subtle mental "            Causal mental


2. Vital                                           " Subtle vital "                Causal vital


Nervous system

3. Physical                                     " Subtle physical "           Causal physical


2)  Will - The executive force of thought.

Man thinks. It is thought. Thought understands. It is done by observation. The senses observe and feed the mind with data. Mind is capable of seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. without the aid of senses. It happens when the yogi withdraws from all his senses. He then sees directly by his mind without the aid of his eyes. Mental understanding accrues knowledge. It has no capacity to act. What acts is the will. Mind has a consciousness, which divides into knowledge and will. Here we define will. Will is the force of consciousness, not its light. Man acts by his will i.e. his mind, choosing to act, instructs the body through the vital which energises the body to execute the orders of the mind. If one is observant, when he wants to get up from his chair, his mind thinks to get up. It can be seen as a thought forming itself in the mind. One, who is capable of subtle observation, can see that thought rising in the subtle plane of the mind. Then the body shows initial movement energised by the vital. This is a simple act and its execution. The will rises in the mind as decision in the consciousness and becomes determination in the mental substance. There is mind in the body and the vital. It is only a further sub-division of the Mind proper.

  • Will is energy directed into force.
  • It acts according to the knowledge of the mind.
  • Will itself has its own knowledge. It is partial.
  • The greater the will absorbs knowledge, the more it is integrated with knowledge.
  • At the point of full integration the idea of the human mind, becomes the Real-Idea of the Supermind, which is capable of self-effectuation.
  • Will is energy organised by the mind for action.
  • Will is the force part of the consciousness.
  • Of the four parts of Sachchidananda - Existence, Consciousness, Force, Ananda - Will is the third.
  • The will of the consciousness is divine Will.
  • It becomes human will when it descends from conscious into the human mind.
  • The heroes of action are heroic by their will.
  • The body and the vital too have their own will.
  • Shivaji or Napoleon had attained the fame of great warriors as they had unconquerable will.
  • Will is ever-present in human life as we see that every man is constantly looking for an opportunity to assert himself.
  • In the married life it is the asserting will that spoil the charm of it.

3) Personality

Human personality consists of multiple layers and dimensions: manners, behaviour, character, personality and individuality.

Society demands of each man a certain goodness in his relationship with others. Man has meticulously obeyed and acquired those ways. The power and weight of the social collectivity are so great that it acts almost as an inexorable law. But each man has limits to his receptivity, which has two aspects, one is response to the social pressure and the other is his capacity to formulate his response. The result is determined by the combination of these two. The social pressure is aimed at creating individuality in each one.

Manners are the pattern of response man puts out for the merest occasion It is of the surface. People can acquire several manners suited to several occasions without being hypocritical. As it is of the surface, it lends itself to change readily as words written on a slate can be easily erased and replaced by other words. Usually men change their manner for reasons of mercenary gains or hypocrisy.

Behaviour is deeper than the surface, but not in the depth of substance which is the territory of character. Behaviour is the same as manners with the only difference that the one is in reference to one's own conscience while the other is in reference to the outer surface social demands. One cannot easily change one's behaviour as manners unless one has a flexible consciousness. Both belong to consciousness on the surface.

The same organisation in the substance is character. Behaviour can be compared to writing on paper which can with/write some effort be erased or changed and replaced by other words while character is words inscribed on stone. Manners, behaviour, character are organisations at different levels. They can be the same at all levels or differ. When they differ tension issue. Being the same at all levels, one is at ease in his inner life. The endowments of man's being are not exhausted by these three faculties. There is more. It is unformed potential that carries the essence of character. Character is fixed, it can repeat  it cannot change. An able auditor, if he finds it different to be an administrator it means his endowment is character. Personality lies deeper than character in the unformed regions of his being. Personality can carry the essence of character - capacity - to another field. We see politicians can rise to any occasions while the administrators, do not find it easy to function outside their domain.

Individuality differs from all these essentially though it is closer to personality. Individuality expresses the uniqueness of Man. It is based on self-reliance, self-awareness and self-respect. Those endowed with personality can act in all fields while individuality enables one to act in any field like personality and add to his work lies own stamp. Individuality is the personality that expresses uniqueness.

These traits are not confined to man alone. Events have their character and even personality. Language, games, communities, nations have their own character and personality.

Character expresses itself in the physical, vital, mental, spiritual planes variously in outer expression retaining the essence in depths.

What is quality in man is property in objects.

Values like honesty, loyalty, gratitude remain so when they are expressed by men of different characters, without fail carry the stamp of the character of the person. Ideals espoused by men such as patriotism, fairness, etc. remain ideals while expressing varied characters. The way in which ideals, values, characters combining reach their perfection when they become unique.

The concepts of perfection, infinitesimal, uniqueness, ideals rise in varying combination while expressing through manners, behaviour, character, personality, and individuality.

The Theory of creation says Man was formed by force assuming form. Character resides in force, its outer expressions of manners and behaviour in form.

One example for each expression can make them more tangible to comprehension.

  • The leaders of Indian Independence movement were all men of character.
  • A Cabinet Minister who changes from food to industry to finance is one of administrative personality.
  • A politician who rises to a new occasion expresses his individuality.
  • Manners can be easily taught and easily forgotten.
  • Behaviour comes from training and lasts as long circumstances last. Character is inherited from parents and from previous birth. Partly the crises in life add to the fund one already has.
  • Climate has its own character.
  • Dress can give a transient character to the wearer.
  • Manners and behaviour give way easily under pressure. Character sinks into the being and surface when the pressure is withdrawn.
  • Changing styles of social living can almost sweep all these away to a very great extent.
  • National, communal, caste character express through dress, mannerism, food, home-design, human relationship, etc.
  • Food and rituals distinguish castes and races.
  • Well-marked character during phases of initial growth escape through manners as mannerisms.
  • Biological constitutions as in different sexes contribute to character formation.
  • Poverty, disease, ignorance destroy character formation.
  • Awakening Spirit can alter manners, behaviour, character, and personality and is capable of forming their opposites.
  • Education cannot change character but can soften its roughness and broaden their vision.
  • Attention can help acquire better behaviour not change character.
  • Lost behaviours can come back after decades if the conditions change.
  • Subtle characteristics are more powerful.

4) Gentlemanliness.         

That which is gentle is inwardly strong essentially. Indians are god-fearing. Their behaviour was in reference to God. Even the king must justify his action by Dharma. Europeans are equally god-fearing, but in their daily life their point of reference is more the cultured society than god. Gentlemanliness is a value conceived by the European aristocracy and mainly practised by them. The landed property made them rich and the excellent classical education they got at home enabled them to look life through the strength of their property and the Truth of their education.

  • Uneducated landowner was a brute.
  • The educated landowner had lost the crudities of the physically earned wealth.
  • Goodness is born by the blending of Truth and knowledge.
  • Such goodness has an inner urge to be soft and gentle.

It is said that the Englishman values good reputation more than material gain. He gave up his Colonies almost voluntarily for that reason. British investment in India rose after 1947 when India became free. Aristocracy that wanted to consolidate its social power created the gentleman. His essential value was honour, to honour the plighted word. Physicality knows to conquer and dominate another by physical liquidation. The aristocrat learnt that one can secure the greater support of another by being true, honoured and right. This conception spread all over Europe. In England it became an article of faith. Its repository was the King. The acme of this value was

  • The king can do no wrong.
  • Education broadened mental vision.
  • He began to view the world from the other man's point of view.
  • Socially the gentleman endeavoured to consciously please another in his transactions with him. Its culmination was he behaved in giving as if he is taking.
  • He would not bring himself to utter anything that would cause pain to another.
  • His word is inviolate.
  • He respects the women and stands up on her entering.
  • Punctuality is one of his virtues, as he does not want anyone to wait for him.
  • Thus he has learned to express anything positively.
  • He could not bring himself to ask for a favour nor would he accept gifts that are not his due.
  • In Europe this has also come to be known after a fashion as being a good Christian.
  • In public behaviour it led to his standing in queue waiting for his turn.

5)  Success.

  • The process of bringing result is success.
  • Nothing succeeds like success because each success is capable of giving the energy for the next success.
  • Success is the result of capacity.
  • Capacity is the essence of several skills.
  • In success one gets the social approval. It is social success.
  • Getting the psychological approval is psychological success.
  • The latter includes the former.
  • Success gives self-confidence.
  • Self-confidence is the basis of Self-esteem.
  • Self-esteem is the foundation of Individuality.
  • Our idea accepted by others is mental success.
  • One cannot aim at mental success in a community of vital population.
  • Mental success of one in such a population generates jealousy.
  • Jealousy can be considered positive as he eschews physical animosity.
  • Competition is the civilised version of jealousy.
  • Competition matures into cooperation in a mature society.
  • In 1972 Nixon sought such a cooperation from China.
  • In 1942 USSR offered such a cooperation to the allies.
  • EU is the result of prewar competition changing into postwar cooperation.
  • For a selfless man personal success is collective success.
  • Sri Aurobindo says success and happiness are lower vital aims.
  • Success over oneself is the finest success.
  • Abolishing exams is the success of education over memorisation.
  • Success seen with evolutionary eyes is in evidence in

§ Democracy

§ Women's liberation

§ Money chasing men

§ Internet bringing service free to the population

§ Environment consciousness

§ Ego's defeat in public life

§ Invalids getting government attention

§ Natural therapy becoming popular

§ Organic cultivation

§ Quantum physics and its revelation.

6)  Conscience.

This is always understood to be the inner voice of God. Mahatma Gandhiji said he was guided by his inner voice. It is also mistaken for one's soul, which it is not. Conscience is ethical and not spiritual. Conscience is best described as the personality of one's ethical consciousness. The Mother calls conscience the adversary to yoga as it will ask you must not to abandon the family. The Gita advises NOT to honour any Dharma but to surrender. So, the Gita too wants the yogi to overlook one's Conscience.

  • Opinion, attitude, motive, preferences, Conscience, Consciousness are likely to be confused.
  • Opinion is personal, One's personal response to a person or event. By definition it is limited. Mostly it is of the mind.
  • Attitude is the direction of the vital energy directed by the opinion of the mind.
  • Motive is more deeply seated than opinion and attitude.Opinion is of the mind.Attitude is of the vital.Motive is of the being.
  • Preference is intensely personal. It can be a mental or emotional preference.
  • Not all people are developed enough to have a conscience. Mentally developed persons acquire moral notions based on ethical principles. Ethics is of the mind. While morality can have a social dimension, ethics tend to be personal. Those who have developed ethical urges refer their actions to them. Over the years one's ethical urges acquire a personality. In spirituality it called being. Thus, Conscience is the being of the ethical personality.
  • Everyone may speak of his conscience even when he has none.
  • The strange fact is conscience can be selfless or selfish.
  • It may be family conscience or communal conscience.
  • Conscience can also be irrational.

The fundamentalists who want to encourage terrorism and kill their enemies do act on their conscience. A conscience that encourages killing cannot be rational or even ethical.

  • Patriots talk of patriotic conscience, which leads him to die a hero for his country.
  • Consciousness is neutral. It can be mental consciousness, vital consciousness or physical consciousness.

By relating to the only entity that is conscious, the mind, vital, physical attain their own consciousness.

  • It is a vast progress for the animal man to acquire a conscience.

To be fettered by one's own conscience one becomes a conscientious member of the family or society. But, when one wants to awaken his SOUL and lead a spiritual life, his own conscience will stand in his way. He can make spiritual progress only when he outgrows his conscience.

  • Conscience is mistaken to be spiritual.

Consciousness also is mistaken to be spiritual by itself.

Consciousness is what exists. It is spiritual only when it is in the spiritual plane.

7)  Honesty.

When we ask ourselves what is honesty, it appears to be a superfluous question, sometimes even silly, as it is self-evident. But, if a child requires its meaning of us, we see some difficulty arises to explain to an ignorant child what we so clearly know. Further a reference to the dictionary is not found vastly helpful especially when we want to distinguish honesty from its dictionary meaning sincerity. To the dictionary honesty is sincerity and sincerity is honesty. Suppose we are serious in our quest and extend our inquiry to another word such as Truth the baffling continues.

  • Honesty, Sincerity, Truthfulness, fairness, Fact and a few other words appear to be the same though they are essentially different.
  • A greater truth is in our usage of these words we are exact and precise. We never err even in the slight degree.
  • Then what are we after?
  • Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which admits only known FACTS, not even originally valid research however valuable they are.
  • It is so because for knowledge it is essential to know facts precisely without a shade of ambiguity.

When there are two different words such as honesty and sincerity in the language it is because one is essentially and precisely different from the other. Always almost always one will be earlier known and the other later. As human comprehension expands or differs NEW words arise from the context. Impression is far from reality. An etymological dictionary may help, but not always. Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D.) offers greater help as it offers copious historical example with dates. As they are earlier usages, there is not much of vagueness. But the final distinction must be arrived at only by the individual. The very confusion arises because of more than one shade of human understanding. Some words have an inner reference. Others refer to the outer circumstances. Still others have differing circumstances in different ages or countries. One such impreciseness arises when we want to distinguish between Truth and Fact. Truth is the objective status of the inner Spirit. Fact relates to the objective physical context. The definition of Truth is philosophical, that of fact is physical.

  • Honesty refers to fairness in behaviour.
  • Hence it has reference to the outside society.
  • Sincerity denotes the Truth inside with respect to your conscience.

There are words like joy and pleasure having reference to feelings and physical sensation. Other words having an exactly same meaning as they come from different contexts or languages such as understanding and comprehension.

  • To know a word precisely helps acquire perfect knowledge that is essential for mental growth.
  • What applies to knowledge applies to concepts. 

story | by Dr. Radut