The Vedic Rishis described a change in conscious awareness as representing satyam, rtam, brihat, the truth, the right, the vast. It is difficult for most people living in the modern world to gain a conception of the vastness of existence. We may know intellectually that the universe is large, we may know that the world, from our individual perspective is large, but the sense of infinity, the sense of unending wideness is missing as we remain circumscribed by the limits of our daily life and the frenetic pace of interaction that occurs within that life. Few are the times or occasions when an individual is able to extract himself from the hustle and bustle of daily life and focus his attention on the vastness that automatically widens his consciousness and opens it up to the direct impact of the universal forces.

In the days of the Vedic rishis, there was not a pervasive and overwhelming buzz of electricity, artificial lighting and constant vibrations of sound of television, radio, internet, fluorescent lights, billboard signs, motor vehicles, etc. They could sit quietly in nature, and naturally observe the stars, the ocean, the mountain ranges and thereby open themselves to an experience of Nature. Until an individual has an actual experience of that vast consciousness, it remains purely a mental concept and does not thereby create the necessary status of consciousness for the kind of direct connection that is described by the rishis.

The First Nations’ people of North America have a tradition for those with a calling to go on a ‘vision quest’. Typically they go out alone, into the wilderness, to commune with Nature, to experience a touch of the infinite expanse of the universal creation, and to let the day to day life slip away so they can experience a deeper realisation and understand who they are and why they are alive.

If one takes the time to travel to isolated places, to the mountains, to the ocean, to a great old growth forest, and observes the night sky, for instance, there arises within a feeling of unlimited wideness that corresponds to the outer view. One can share in the experience of infinity, of a timelessness that escapes our normal daily awareness, of a beauty that captivates our souls as one leaves behind the limiting factors that distract us from the greater reality within which we live. Truly it is said that day for the ordinary man is night for the sage.

Sri Aurobindo describes this sense of wideness, and the power of Nature in his epic poem Savitri: a Legend and a Symbol, when he writes: “I know there shall inform the inconscient cells, At one with Nature and at height with heaven, A spirit vast as the containing sky And swept with ecstasy from invisible founts….”

The Mother notes: “But when one has this capacity in his own consciousness — for example, you go for a walk and come to a place which is somewhat vast, like the seashore or like a great plain or the summit of a mountain, a place where the horizon is fairly vast, then if you have this kind of physical instinct which suddenly makes you as vast as the horizon, you have a sense of infinity, immensity, and the vaster you become, the quieter and more peaceful you become.”

“It is enough for you to have a contact with Nature like that.”

“There are many other means, but this one is very spontaneous. There is also… when you see something very beautiful you can have the same thing: a kind of inner joy and an opening to the forces, and so this widens you and fills you at the same time. There are many means but usually one does not use them. Naturally, if you enter into contemplation and aspire for a higher life and call down the forces from above, this recuperates your energies more than anything else. But there are numerous methods.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 4 Cosmic and Universal Forces, pp 95-96

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press