In a situation that is witnessed by several people, comprehension of different people varies according to their apperceptive mass which serves as their mental background. The situation itself has several dimensions and that too influences the comprehension of the individuals. The words comprehension and understanding are used as synonyms. Still understanding is to get at the core of a thing as our mind sees it, while comprehension is to know the thing as fully as possible.
When Visweswarayya passed away at the age of 104, a poor, starving man exclaimed, "He had enough to eat." That is the view of the empty stomach. As he was a brahmachari or a grass widower, many understood his long life from that point of view.
In a situation when something is lost, the first response of a guilty person is that he should prove his innocence. He understands from his point of view.
Comprehension is a mental identification with an external fact or situation or a concept. The fact, situation or concept may be in his own mind. As all knowledge is knowledge by identity in one form or another, comprehension is one such identification.
What makes for comprehension is mental energy; when organised, that energy takes the forms of understanding, idea, thought, opinion, preference, construction or habit. Fresh organisation of mental energy results in understanding. That understanding becomes an idea when it is closer to knowledge and a thought when it is closer to fact. Energy that is organised around a thought or fact becomes a thought whereas when organised around the essence of a thought. it becomes an idea. That is why we say, "I think I should move to that house. The idea is I should live within my means." Moving to a house is a thought. Living in a house whose rent is affordable is an idea.
Senses feed the comprehension. Also mind feeds itself with its own ideas as facts. Senses are the instruments of ego and its creation. Ego feels the mind with the facts gathered by senses. Thoughts that are the results really originate in the emotions, ultimately in the body. Those who try to control thoughts feel it imperative to still the bodily movements. Brain is the apex of the body or the rarefied part of the body. Therefore the higher thoughts originate from the brain. Body is external to the mind. In the stillness of mind, a yogi who tries to silence his thoughts sees in the subtle plane that thoughts enter the mind from outside. They enter from outside through the body and its senses.
Three main characteristics of comprehension are organisation, clarity and strength. The volume of mental energy and its intensity determines the strength; the previous thought structure that receives the incoming energy determines its organisation. Thought turns into idea and finally into knowledge and light. Clarity expresses this process.
Mind seeks light but receives only facts. It tries to convert facts into light by first converting them into thought and idea. Fact is external and gross. Thought is a mental fact. Thought losing its grossness and turning into its own essence is idea. As the fabric of thoughts is composed of facts, the fabric of ideas is composed of thoughts, rather their essence. The soul in the mind holds the light; mind itself possesses knowledge. Thought is held by memory. Idea is in the domain of imagination.
Body, vital, mind, and spirit are parts of the embodied being. Each of these planes is capable of its own accomplishment. Mind accomplishes when it comprehends; the vital’s accomplishment is enjoyment. Body accomplishes in the act. The instrument of mind for its accomplishment is thought; for the vital it is the nervous sensation. Body does it through physical sensation.
Mind, vital and physical each have comprehension, enjoyment and accomplishment as their sub-parts. Thinking leads to comprehension, interest to enjoyment, sensation to accomplishment. Mature mental interest generates mental enjoyment when saturated. Similarly saturated mental sensation creates mental accomplishment that is comprehension.
Comprehension at the point of saturation centres itself in the physical mind. It begins as decision and finishes as determination. All parts of the being subdivide themselves as consciousness above and substance below. Mental consciousness is centred in the thinking part of the mind while brain, the expression of substance, keeps decision to itself. The substance of the vital is nerves, of the physical is the body.
It is noteworthy that the emotion is in the middle between thought and action. Emotion expresses as energy. Thought to crystallise into action or action to elevate itself into thought needs to pass through the medium of energy in the emotion. Action evolves energy of emotion and culminates as thought when mind organises it in its own plane as comprehension.
Action of the body leads to energy of the emotion and ends in comprehension of the mind. When comprehension of the mind is generated originally as comprehension, it has in it all the essence of power to accomplish in the body when saturated. As the mind is a superior plane, comprehension of the mind and the work it aims at will be more powerful than the action of the body.
Primitive men worked with the body and their mental parts understood it. Over the centuries man evolved, and the body’s comprehension rose to the mind as mental knowledge. Man today, while starting at this mental knowledge, can accomplish a thousand times more than the primitive man. Hence development from above is far more swift than evolution from below.
As the same term is used in ascent and descent, care must be bestowed in distinguishing one from the other as the results are far different.
Comprehension, enjoyment, accomplishment are a two way process, one evolutionary and the other developmental. Each subdivides into all three, thus complicating an already complex process. Rightly understood, the complexity remains dissolving complications. The more complex it is, the richer it becomes.
To know the complication as simply complexity is knowledge.
To be able to see the complexity as it weaves itself into a whole is power of accomplishment.
What we call DEVELOPMENT is to trace the evolution of physical accomplishment into mental comprehension and re-enact it as physical accomplishment, thus abridging it into a thousandth part of time.
Development is initiating the work at the mental level to be executed at the physical plane.
Before energy is released there is no movement. Energy moves. Insufficient energy does not accomplish, nor does it work. Enough energy works. Energy in saturation can lead to enjoyment if there is no disharmony. Matter does not enjoy the saturated harmonious joy of Energy, Sri Aurobindo says.
An act is energy turning substance into result through its organisation known as skill. Result or accomplishment has two other attributes, namely, comprehension and enjoyment. Accomplishment at any level will have built into it these two other aspects. Hence enjoyment is emotional comprehension maturing in an act.
Accomplishment issues enjoyment.
Accomplishment issues comprehension.
Comprehension that enjoys accomplishes.
Enjoyment that comprehends accomplishes.
Therefore enjoyment can be a measure or index of accomplishment. Comprehension too can be a measure of accomplishment. Accomplishment can be a measure of enjoyment as well as comprehension. Accomplishment belongs to the physical, rather the substance, enjoyment to the vital, comprehension to the mental and each can be a measure or index of the other. This is so because all the three co-exist on all the planes.
We have subdivided MAN into nine parts. Enjoyment belongs to all the nine levels. Mind enjoys comprehension, comprehending the emotion of the situation or event. Poetry is mind's emotional comprehension of life's intensities as realities. In the scale of human values, the poet is placed higher than the philosopher but lower than the yogi. When the conceptual knowledge of the philosopher enriches the sentiments of man whose knowledge of life realities extends to universal scale, the Poet is born.
Enjoyment belongs to the planes of quantity as well as quality. The rule is, quantity meets the needs, while quality enriches and therefore issues enjoyment. But when the quantity increases, enjoyment issues as if the quality has changed. Man earning money or acquiring power would seek to rise to knowledge to enjoy. But when man's wealth increases or power net widens, he begins to enjoy.
Enjoyment is integral, not partial. Partial conditions do not generate enjoyment. Because it is integral, it cannot hurt a part. All parts or each part falls into its place harmoniously. The question of one hurting the other does not arise.
Though enjoyment belongs to all nine levels, its proper seat is the emotional vital, level No.5. We understand enjoyment is possible in expanding. True. But there can be enjoyment in giving or taking, or for that matter in any act. It does not depend on the activity but the intensity and harmony of energies in the act.
At No. 9, especially at the level of substance, there is no movement. It enjoys non-moving stability. No. 1's idea becomes a pure concept when it detaches itself from the decision of the physical mind and the sentiment of the vital mind. Each level enjoys going to the next higher level.
Ascent is the primary movement that lays the foundation. Descent is the secondary movement that completes. Ascent can be likened to the discovery in the lab; descent to the commercialisation of the product. The latter is a further movement of evolution and therefore every element there will be richer. Enjoyment in the descent is richer than in the ascent. There is an expansiveness, intensity and harmony that make for enjoyment. The Ananda splits into three aspects of Love, Beauty and Joy. Ananda received by the nerves is Joy, by the mind is Beauty, by the soul is Love.
Joy is a sensation even as being is a status and consciousness is knowledge. An individual, family, organisation or nation can be culturally evaluated by the quality of its enjoyment.
Austerity is enjoyment by denial. Tyranny is the enjoyment of negative intensity. Progress issues out of either experiencing enjoyment or denying it. The wider the field enjoyment reaches, the greater is its quality.
Comprehension, enjoyment, values, attitudes and motives are attributes of Accomplishment. Accomplishment itself is an attribute of Accomplishment in the sense that comprehension of the physical is accomplishment. Accomplishment at the physical level is a partial accomplishment of Man’s total accomplishment even as comprehension is the mental accomplishment and enjoyment is vital accomplishment. For purposes of distinction, we may call the physical faculty achievement so that it may be distinguished from the total Accomplishment.
The theme of this chapter is -- Man, the full man, accomplishes. His parts of being have partial accomplishment. Each uses a different faculty. The physical uses achievement, vital enjoyment, mental comprehension and the spiritual values. The total accomplishment carries all these as parts and there is an interplay or interaction.
A strategy that can be extracted from these is when one learns to do a thing from a higher plane, his effectivity is greater. To solve problems this knowledge can be very effectively used as an ACT is constituted as mechanically or methodically as a machine.
It is common experience that as society advances people espouse higher values and employ higher skills and enjoy at a higher level. In any given society, the lower strata and the higher strata differ only in the fact that they chose different values.
Social organisations and institutions are born when higher comprehension arises in the society. Their effectivity depends upon the extent to which the population honours values.
One basic work value is punctuality. The West has developed it and follows it as an article of faith. Their civilisation has risen high. In India neither work nor punctuality is developed. Life is low. Now that India has borrowed the Western ways at random at many levels, introduction of punctuality can raise the level of accomplishment very high. To introduce such a value or to be benefitted by such a value, a comprehensive knowledge of all these attributes and their interrelations needs to be known. This chapter is an attempt to deal with that subject. So also for systems. Cultural values can play a similar beneficial role in the West.
Introduction of punctuality without such a knowledge of all other similar attributes will be difficult, and if one succeeds it will be painful. When achieved, it will yield the practical result with a dry human personality as the product. The best way to introduce punctuality is to start with the society. It requires social planning. Punctuality as a discipline must be introduced at the level of family, small establishments, schools, etc. and be encouraged. Without accomplishment on the agenda, introduction of a value will again be dry or mechanical. Higher production in the fields and factories introduced as an aim will give the context of encouragement so that the value of punctuality is more fully accomplished.
In a school where the result is 40%, if a target is to be fixed, it must take into account the potentials of pupils, teachers, the school and the community that serves it. Normally it will be realistic to aim at 50% from 40%. Bt when all the potentials are studied and the aim of full exploitation of the potentials is set, and for that purpose one work value or operational value like punctuality is seriously followed, the result will be more than 90% because at any time society taps only 5% of its potentials in an unorganised fashion. The present effort is an attempt at partial organisation. During such an effort, a host of opportunities and problems will arise. The ideas of this chapter will then be of maximum use.
Punctuality is understood in a school as punctual opening at the given hour. Then it becomes a one-time method, not a value. The school should be opened, closed, and the periods begun punctually. The lessons, the homework, the examinations, the valuation of papers etc. must be punctual in their operation. It is an overall endeavour which releases more energy of the community. Energy so released must be organised into skills at all levels. Otherwise it will be dissipated and the momentum lost. The handwriting is to be improved, manners are to be upgraded, cleanliness is to be raised, orderliness introduced as long as the energy is available.
In a practical experiment like that, each one of these 25 ideas will find ample scope for use. These ideas will help not to overdo a certain discipline or neglect a potential. The accomplishment taken at the level of the whole school will yield a very desirable result. When the unit of accomplishment is narrowed to class and then to the individual, not only results will be phenomenal but also we will know how to draw upon the potentials, to convert them into different stages of accomplishment. Incidentally, all the errors of the development policies of the nation can be seen at the level of school in full evidence.
A school cannot embark on introducing punctuality without the individual class being motivated to achieve more, the handwriting of pupils improved, the silence of the teaching hour honoured.
Teachers who bring in the social attitudes that backward caste pupils cannot perform well are a bar to the school’s progress. They simply cannot be told to shed that attitude. In a minor way similar attitudes in the teachers that one cannot pass an exam at an advanced age can be countered by organising self-improvement schemes for teachers. The results of such a scheme will remove the emotional foundation for the disbelief about backward castes.
In stray cases where pupils are truthful, honest, etc. they can be shown how the energy of these values can be drawn into academic results. As the energy is true, the incentive real, the strategy has a 100% chance of becoming successful.
Cleanliness and orderliness coupled with punctuality can be linked with academic results, individual as well as class. This will create a very healthy atmosphere of competition and is likely to have a chain reaction.
Opinion can be a bar or help. Recognising this, one can take up in a school dozens of opinions, e.g., geometry cannot be taught, only memorisation will help; punctuality is not possible in this town; no standards can ever be achieved in a school like ours. Gathering all these opinions, one can study them and show generally where they are invalid and why. The occasion can be taken to create new right opinions. One can witness a minor miracle that these changed opinions change a school at the 141st rank in the district to the 3rd or even the 1st rank.
Development is a science. Planning will enhance the result not by a percentage but will raise the level of performance. To introduce planning one has to know the process of development thoroughly. This chapter on values contributes its mite to that whole effort.
Within its own realm, each idea here will turn into a very powerful strategy inconceivable in their isolation.
Accomplishment is a final physical result in concrete material terms that is usable, such as food cooked, book printed, house built, a game played, an idea understood, etc. Into this goes physical work, vital energy and mental comprehension. They are the primary elements of the basic planes of life. They shape into secondary tools when energy gets organised into skills, comprehension into opinion, energy gets directed by likes. These instruments have a way of further improving themselves into various fashions of the same intensity or higher organisation and greater intensity. Comprehension is the basic endowment of mind. It shapes into opinion, preference, construction, habit, thought, idea. Energy when organised, we know, takes the further forms of skill, capacity, ability, and talent.
Also energy of one plane is acted upon by another plane. Energy is organised into skill by knowledge in the physical plane. In the vital plane when the energy is acted upon by the knowledge of the mental plane, Attitude is born. Likes, dislikes, are energy directed by vital attraction primarily, though an element of the mind may often enter into its composition. Attraction, charm, affection are energies of higher intensity flowing towards another object by virtue of its vital strength, not so much directed by a mental idea. Whereas the vital energies, when endorsed and given a direction by a mental idea, channel into a given direction. And that direction is known as attitude.
In individual or social development accomplishment is a landmark to which we strive and it serves as a tool of measurement of our level of development. Considering it in both ways as a result and a measuring tool, we have to consider the various ingredients that go into its making. In a basic sense an accomplishment, being a miniature of human existence, contains all the endowments man has. In another sense, an accomplishment is traced back to its origin as a process and we study it as a result brought about by the ingredients at play in the previous stage of that succession of processes.
We have now taken up, in this section, consideration of the result as brought about by its component attitude. We define attitude as the combination of mental idea and vital energy. Our theme is attitude is a determinant of result. We further say the result can be upgraded or monitored by choosing the appropriate attitude.
As we go down the line from mind to the body, we see the phenomenon of emotion of each plane shaping the knowledge of that plane and further, the knowledge of a higher plane impinging on the emotion of the lower plane. Thus, opinion arises in the mental plane, attitude in the vital and motives in the physical. Mind gives the direction, energy the force and the body the organisation. Direction from the mind, force from the vital help the physical accomplish through its organisation. Mind expresses through opinion, vital through attitudes and the physical through motives. Opinion has no energy whereas attitude is full of energy. Motive has the organisation that can shape the energy into result. In the mental plane itself mental emotion converts the mental knowledge into mental opinion. Mental organisation converts that opinion into mental decision of the mental consciousness which becomes mental determination at the level of mental substance, the brain.
We are now considering only the external results as our topic is social development. We are not discussing the inner results which belong to the domain of psychology. So our context is external, social, the situation outside man, in his circumstance or environment. That environment is like a pyramid with horizontal layers of different variety and vertical layers of different intensity. As man is a unique product down to his fingertips, where the finger print stands out as unique, so the social situations in this pyramid of myriad expressions are composed of millions of individual events each of which is unique, not to speak of the equally innumerable inner stands man can take. His response to each of the outer situations gives rise to an attitude. If the outer situations are described as facts, each fact is capable of creating an attitude in man. There are as many attitudes as there are social situations or social facts.
Attitudes are the final outcome of external social situations. Therefore attitudes can be used as instruments of accomplishment. Each of the nine levels if split into three further levels of mental, vital, physical, will create 27 separate planes. Subdividing them into consciousness and substance they become 54. As a conscious movement is internal and the unconscious man is externally moved, by dividing these 54 levels into conscious and unconscious or internal and external, we land on 108 levels totally. This can be extended ad infinitum by selfish x unselfish, right x wrong, high x low, bright x darkness, if we choose. Each of these levels can have an attitude of its own.
Attitude is of the vital and therefore properly belong to 4,5, & 6 only. But, in theory emotion is there in all 108 levels even as knowledge and physicality are. We may confine our discussions to 4, 5 & 6.
In the unconscious process the external circumstances give us the attitude. In the conscious growth one acquires an attitude and determines the result. Attitudes, conscious or unconscious, decide the available energy to produce the result. It is obvious that one’s opinion determines the scope of one’s opportunity, action and accomplishment. In that sense, opinion, attitudes, skills are limiting factors when the available energy is abundant, while they are positive, helpful instruments where the available energy is not abundant. An opinion of a higher order compels the man to raise his otherwise sagging energies for action. In a person of overwhelmingly abundant actionable energy, a smaller narrow opinion is inhibiting.
In the light of the fact that knowledge has no energy and energy has no direction, we can say opinions and knowledge are factors that bring into our ken opportunities. Attitudes are the springs that unleash the energies and energise the opportunities and organisation (skill) is the instrument that brings about the result. In this view, right attitude helps opportunity take shape and appropriate skill converts the possibilities into actualities.
To draw a complete list of attitudes or their main representations and examine their capacity to determine accomplishment will cover the full scope of social development. All that is said here will apply to opinion in a lesser way and motive in a fuller way.
Motive is a deep-seated centre of determination. Attitude directs energies. Motives direct accomplishment. Opinions give direction to knowledge. The physical by its constitution is a kind of the ‘whole’ man which is really his embodied being. The motive of the being which includes all the four parts is the real MOTIVE, but for purposes of a narrow field of social development, the attitude of the physical can be called the motive which determines the ultimate accomplishment.
Nature is Energy in motion. Of all the animate objects she has created, Man is the supreme being. Already he has a mind, a vital and a physical. Energy moving through these planes creates. Also it creates instruments in each of these planes. In the mind the moving energy creates ideas, in the vital it creates relationships, and in the body results are achieved. Further, the Energy creates an instrument in mind to create ideas and that instrument is opinion. Similarly, the instruments of attitudes and motives are created in the vital and physical.
Being a new subject, not having a developed terminology as yet, confusions may arise as to what is comprehension and sensation. For the present, let us use a terminology that is clear to us. Mind is the plane, comprehension is the faculty, opinion is the instrument. So also let us assume attitude and motives are the instruments of vital and physical.
In this section our purpose is to consider motive as an instrument. Further, to consider motive as an instrument of development is our aim. As we proceed from mind to body we move from conscious to subconscious. Hence motive is subconscious. As it is subconscious, it is carried by the physical cells from the parent to child. No man is endowed with the capacity to know his motive as, by definition, it is subconscious. He has to resort to subtle symptoms to decipher it. The whole process of civilisation is a process of becoming more conscious of our subconscious knowledge and achievement. The greatest achievements of civilisation came about when the collective had acquired a motive.
Motive properly belongs to the being, but in view of the fact that the physical, in one sense, is as comprehensive as being, we use the term motive for the physical urge. When one is subconscious he does not move by thought that is conscious but by an inner urge like hunger. So, motive is an internal force and for that reason very powerful.
Mind gives direction, vital energises but the physical achieves a result by its organisation. All motives have an inbuilt organisation in them. The effectivity of the physical comes from its organisation. For the very same reason, the physical does not understand till it is able to do a thing because its understanding is organisation. Also the moment the physical understands, it cannot wait for action because organisation has an inherent dynamism. A motor either runs or not. It cannot be started and NOT run. When the organisation is energised by the electric current, it comes alive, it runs. We can as well say, the motor ‘understands’ when it runs.
The hierarchy of opinion, attitude, motive is interlinked and each determines the other. In their formative stage, they are determined by others. After they are formed, they determine the others. Normally each of them is formed on its own. In such a situation conflict ensues. Each aspect is inclusive of the other and in that measure they are harmonious. An attitude includes an opinion. Motive includes attitudes, i.e. opinion too, indirectly. At the level of Being, the motive is most harmonious. Still, individual exclusive formation is possible which generates disharmony and conflict. One who has his own motive on his side is sure of success.
As motives are subconscious, the collective motive rarely conflicts with the individual motive. An individual motive can clash with another individual’s. Such clashes are most powerful.
Motives continue to grow in successive generations. When the cycle is complete, it changes, often into its very opposite. A generous man’s children and grandchildren are more and more generous and at one point, the next generation becomes miserly.
Motives exist in grades. They grow horizontally and vertically. The level of motives is fixed by the level of personality. The same person can have different motives of different intensities. By extension, we can speak of mental, vital motives. An urge becomes a motive when it is irresistible or consciously effective. That is the deepest psychological force of man.
Beyond the realm of social development lies the domain of psychological growth and spiritual evolution. The world is split into mystic Asia and material Europe. No one has indicated why it is so. Beyond saying it is God’s will, it is difficult to assign reasons. As the highest mountain is in Asia, one may tend to think its symbolism is a clue. Mountains are, HE said, the earth’s aspiration for heaven. Whatever the truth there, the fact remains that Asia and Europe have taken on themselves opposite goals. The goals have been made possible by the motives of the populations. Material goal being the motive, it was possible for Europe to achieve it, because it was within reach. Spiritual goal being lofty, it defies achievement. Hence Asia’s spiritual motive, while it is alive underneath, is covered by a life that has failed to achieve material plenty.
The argument for social development in Asia is that it will surely succeed in an overwhelming measure as its deeper base is alive and strong. Only that it should awaken to its own needs.
In the individuals in whom the spiritual motive is well formed, personal development of prosperity will take on wings if they choose to exercise themselves in that direction. For that, they should appreciate the primacy of Spirit over matter.