This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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The place of ego in Sri Aurobindo’s psychological system

Soumitra Basu — Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

The ego is a temporary construction to organize out of matter a conscious individual. The dissolution of the limiting ego is also a requisite for finding the true person. Sri Aurobindo describes that the ego is to be replaced by a fourth dimensional principle as the true integrating centre of the being. This is a yogic endeavour and needs a multidirectional approach, viz., the development of the inner being or subliminal being behind the outer being (which is currently studied as ‘personality’); the development of the inmost being or psychic being behind the inner being; a cleansing action in the subconscious which otherwise would lead to the perpetuation of the old habitual ego functions; the experience of the Central Being or Jivatman above the manifestation so that one cultivates the sense of impersonality. Even then, a vague, elusive ‘substratum ego’ that supports the ego-idea may be mistaken for the purusha or the True Person.

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