Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

The training of the senses

Mirra Alfassa – La Madre – 1878-1973

There  are  six  senses  which  minister  to  knowledge:  sight,  hearing,  smell,  touch  and taste,    mind,  and  all  of  these  except  the  last  look  outward  and  gather  the  material  of thought from outside through the physical nerves and their end-organs: eye, ear, nose, skin,  palate.  The  perfection  of  the  senses  must  be  one  of  the  first  cares  of  the  teacher. Two things that are needed of the senses are accuracy and sensitiveness.  We must first understand  what  are  the  obstacles  to  the  accuracy  and 

Sri Aurobindo 1872-1950

sensitiveness  of  the  senses,  in order that we may take the  best steps to remove them.  The senses depend for their accuracy and sensitiveness on the unobstructed activity of the nerves which are channels of their information and the passive  acceptance of the mind which is the recipient.  The  fault  may  be  with  the  nerve  currents.  The  nerves  are  nothing  but  channels.  They have  no  power  in  themselves  to  alter  the  information  given  by  the  organs.  But  a channel  may  be    obstructed  and  obstruction  may  interfere  either  with  the  fullness or the accuracy of the information as it reaches the mind. … The obstructions can be removed and the sensitiveness remedied by the purification of the nervous system.  The  remedy  is  a  simple  one:    the  regulation  of  the  breathing.  This  process  is  called  in Yogic discipline nādi-śuddhi or nerve purification.  All  distortion  due  to  actions  in  the  nervous  system  can  be  traced  to  some  kind  of emotional  disturbance  acting  in  the  nerve  channels.  The  only  remedy  for  them  is  the habit of calm, the habitual steadiness of the nerves. This also can be brought about by nādi-śuddhi or nerve purification. Now the manas, the mind, or sixth sense is in itself a channel like the nerves, a channel for  communication  with  the  buddhi  or  brain-force; the  manas  is  both  a  sense  organ and a channel.

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