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Spirituality, Will, Manners, Behavior


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. 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 spoils the charm of it.

3)      Manners - Behaviour - Character - Personality - 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 manners 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 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 difficult 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 his 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 surfaces 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 expresses 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, 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.

story | by Dr. Radut