Perfection Summary

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Read more about Perfection from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Perfection?

Perfection is all that we want to become in our highest aspiration [1] Man as a being is capable of self-development and of some approach at least to an ideal standard of perfection which his mind is able to conceive. [2] The characteristic law of Spirit is self-existent perfection and immutable infinity. It possesses always and in its own right the immortality which is the aim of Life and the perfection which is the goal of Mind.[3] As you pursue this labour of purification and unification, you must at the same time take great care to perfect the external and instrumental part of your being.[4]

One can attain perfection in the different parts of the being - in the mind, the vital and the physical.

Perfection of the Mind

When the higher truth manifests, it must find in you a mind that is supple and rich enough to be able to give the idea that seeks to express itself a form of thought which preserves its force and clarity. [5] Our mind, in its search for what must be, turns towards a concentration on our own inner spiritual growth and perfection, on our own individual being and inner living; or it turns towards a concentration on an individual development of our surface nature, on the perfection of our thought and outer dynamic or practical action on the world, on some idealism of our personal relation with the world around us; or it turns rather towards a concentration on the outer world itself, on making it better, more suited to our ideas and temperament or to our conception of what should be. [6]

Perfection of the Vital

Many of the things we need for our perfection, courage, will-power effective in life, all the elements of what we now call force of character and force of personality, depend very largely for their completest strength and spring of energetic action on the fullness of the psychic prana. [7]

Perfection of the Physical

[The body’s] perfection means that the body becomes conscious, is filled with consciousness and that as this is the Truth consciousness all its actions, functionings etc. become by the power of the consciousness within it harmonious, luminous, right and true—without ignorance or disorder. [8]

Why is Perfection Important?

There can be no real perfection for us except by our inner self and truth of spiritual existence taking up all truth of the instrumental existence into itself and giving to it oneness, integration, harmony. As our only real freedom is the discovery and disengagement of the spiritual Reality within us. [9]

Mind, life, body, all the forms of our nature are the means of this growth, but they find their last perfection only by opening out to something beyond them, first, because they are not the whole of what man is, secondly, because that other something which he is, is the key of his completeness and brings a light which discovers to him the whole high and large reality of his being. [10]

So long as one remains in the world-existence, this perfection must radiate out from him,—for that is the necessity of his oneness with the universe and its beings. [11]

How to Cultivate Perfection?

[If] we renounce what has already been given us from eagerness for our new attainment, if in reaching the mental life we cast away or belittle the physical life which is our basis, or if we reject the mental and physical in our attraction to the spiritual, we do not fulfil God integrally, nor satisfy the conditions of His self-manifestation. We do not become perfect, but only shift the field of our imperfection or at most attain a limited altitude. [12] For this shifting of imperfection to perfection, the first step is to become conscious of yourself, of the different parts of one’s being and their respective activities. For becoming conscious of oneself, one must be quite awake,[13] in a state of observation of one’s thoughts and actions; becoming clearly aware of these movements, noticing their reaction, impulses etc. With a constant observation and practice, one does not only become a witness of what is happening within them but will also be aware of the origin of these movements.

By silencing the mind and living in calm state is a step on the path of perfection. Those who have thus possessed the Calm within can perceive always welling out from its silence the perennial supply of the energies that work in the universe. It is not, therefore, the truth of the Silence to say that it is in its nature a rejection of the cosmic activity. [14]

The calm established in the whole being must remain the same whatever happens, in health and disease, in pleasure and in pain, even in the strongest physical pain, in good fortune and misfortune, our own or that of those we love, in success and failure, honour and insult, praise and blame, justice done to us or injustice, everything that ordinarily affects the mind. [15]

Another important aspect is Faith. There is one kind of faith demanded as indispensable by the integral Yoga and that may be described as faith in God and the Shakti, faith in the presence and power of the Divine in us and the world, a faith that all in the world is the working of one divine Shakti. [16]

Difficulties in Perfection

The ego-sense is contrary to spiritual realisation, so how can any kind of ego be a thing to be encouraged? As for the magnified ego, it is one of the most perilous obstacles to release and perfection. There should be no big I, not even a small one. [17]

The difficulty that the mind cannot wholly mentalise life and matter; there are considerable parts of the life being and the body which remain in the realm of the submental and the subconscient or inconscient. This is one serious obstacle to the mind's endeavour towards the perfection of the nature.[18] The mind in ignorance is the main difficulty on the path of perfection.


Content curated by Prema Sankar

Read more about Perfection from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

References