30 – I saw a child wallowing in the dirt and the same child cleaned by his mother and resplendent, but each time I trembled before his utter purity.
Can a child keep this purity even when he has grown up?
In theory, it is not impossible, and some people born away from cities, civilisations and cultures may maintain throughout the life of their earthly body this spontaneous purity, a purity of the soul that is not obscured by the mind’s working.
For the purity of which Sri Aurobindo speaks here is the purity of instinct, that obeys Nature’s impulses spontaneously, never calculating, never questioning, never asking whether it is good or bad, whether what one does is right or wrong, whether it is a virtue or a sin, whether the outcome will be favourable or unfavourable. All these notions come into play when the mental ego makes its appearance and begins to take a dominant position in the consciousness and to veil the spontaneity of the soul.
In modern “civilised” life, parents and teachers, by their practical and rational “good advice”, lose no time in covering up this spontaneity which they call unconsciousness, and sub- stituting for it a very small, very narrow, limited mental ego, withdrawn into itself, crammed with notions of misbehaviour and sin and punishment or of personal interest, calculation and profit; all of which has the inevitable result of increasing vital desires through repression, fear or self-justification.
And yet for the sake of completeness it should be added that because man is a mental being, he must necessarily in the course of his evolution leave behind this unconscious and spontaneous purity, which is very similar to the purity of the animal, and after passing through an unavoidable period of mental perversion and impurity, rise beyond the mind into the higher and luminous purity of the divine consciousness.
27 April 1960