THE first or superficial view which the observing mind takes of any object of knowledge is always an illusory view; science, all true knowledge comes by going behind the superficies and discovering the inner truth and the hidden law. It is not that the thing itself is illusory, but that it is not what it superficially appears to be; nor is it that the operations and functionings we observe on the surface do not take place but that we cannot find their real motive-power, process, relations by the simple study of them as they offer themselves to the observing senses. ...These material constituents again are merely formulations of a Force which we cannot describe as material and of which the senses have no evidence. Yet the mind and the senses can live quite satisfied and convinced in the world of illusions and accept them as the practical truth-for to a certain extent they are the practical truth and sufficient for an initial, ordinary and limited activity. 

But only to a certain extent; for there are possibilities of a wider life, a more mastering action, a greater practicality which can only be achieved by going behind these surfaces , and utilising a truer knowledge of objects and forces. The discovery of the secret operations of Nature leads to a contigent discovery, the possibility of a farther use of her forces to which she herself has not proceeded, not finding the necessary for the mere preservation of existence and its ordinary workings, but has left to man, her mental being, discover and utilise for the amelioration of existence and for the development of its possibilities.

All this is easy to see in the realm of Matter; but mankind is not yet entirely ready to recognise the same truth and follow up the same principle in the realm of the Mind. It is true that psychology has made an  advance and has begun to improve its method. Formerly, it was a crude, scholastic and superficial systematisation of man's ignorance of himself. The surface psychological functionings, will, mind, senses,  reason, conscience, etc., were arranged in a dry and sterile  classification; their real nature and relation to each other were not fathomed nor any use made of them which went beyond the limited action. Nature had been found sufficient for a very superficial mental and psychic life and for very superficial and ordinary workings. Because we do not know ourselves, therefore we are unable to ameliorate radically our subjective life or develop with mastery, with rapidity, with a sure science the hidden possibilities of our mental capacity and our moral nature. The new psychology seeks indeed to penetrate behind superficial  appearances, but it is encumbered by initial errors which prevent a profounder knowledge,-the material- istic error which bases the study of the mind upon the study of the body; the sceptical error which prevents any bold and clear-eyed investigation of the hidden profundities of our subjective existence; the error of conservative distrust and recoil, which regards any subjective state or experience that departs from the ordinary operations of our mental and, psychical nature as a morbidity or a hallucination,- just as the Middle Ages regarded all new science as magic and a diabolical departure from the sane and right limits of human capacity; finally, the error of objectivity which leads the psychologist to study others from outside instead of seeing his true field of knowledge and laboratory of experiment in himself. Psychology is necessarily a subjective science and one must proceed in it from the knowledge of oneself to true knowledge of others.

But whatever the crudities of the new science, it has at least taken the first capital step without which there can be no true psychological knowledge; it has made the discovery which is the beginning of self-knowledge and which all must make who deeply study the facts of consciousness, that our waking and surface existence is only a small part of our being and does not yield to us the root and the secret of' our character, our mentality, or our actions. The sources lie deeper. To discover them, to know the nature and the processes of the inconscient or subconscient self and, so far as is possible, to possess and utilise the secret forces of Nature, ought to be the aim of a scientific psychology.

Modern psychological experiment and observation have proceeded on two different lines which have not yet found  their point of meeting. On the one hand, psychology has taken for its starting-point the discoveries and the fundament thesis of the physical sciences and has worked as a continuation of physiology. The physical sciences are the study of  inconscient Force working in inconscient Matter and a psychology which accepts this formula as the basis of all existence must regard consciousness as a phenomenal result the Inconscient working on the inconscient. Mind is only an outcome and as it were a record of nervous reactions. The true self is the inconscient; mental action is one of its subordinate phenomena. The Inconscient is greater than the conscient; it is the god, the magician, the creator whose  action is far more unerring than the ambitious but blundering action of the conscious mentality….

The other line of psychological investigation is still frowned upon by orthodox science, but it thrives and yields its results in spite of the anathema of the doctors. It leads us into bypaths of psychical research, hypnotism, mesmerism, occultism and all sorts of strange psychological groupings. Certainly, there is nothing here of the assured clearness and firmly grounded positivism of the physical method. Yet facts emerge and with the facts a momentous conclusion,-the conclusion, that there is a 'subliminal' self behind our superficial waking mind, not inconscient but conscient, greater than the waking mind, endowed with surprising faculties and capable , much surer action and experience, conscient of the superficial mind though of it the superficial mind is inconscient. And then a question rises. What if there were really no Inconscient at all, but a hidden Consciousness everywhere perfect in power and wisdom, of which our mind is the first slow hesitating and imperfect disclosure and into the image of which the human mentality is destined progressively to grow? It would at least be no less valid a generalisation and it would explain all the facts that we now know considerably better than the blind and purposeless determinism of the  materialistic theory .

In pursuing psychological investigation upon this line we shall only be resuming that which had already been done by our remote forefathers. For they too, the moment they began to observe, to experiment, to look below the surface of things, were compelled to perceive that the surface man is only a form and appearance and that the real self is something infinitely greater and more profound. They too must have passed through the first materialistic stages of science and philosophy. ...The Vedantic psychology was aware of other depths that take us beyond this formula and in relation to which the mental being becomes in its turn as superficial as is our waking to our subliminal mind. And now once more in the revolutions of human thought these depths have to be sounded; modern psychology will be led perforce, by the compulsion of the truth that it is seeking, on the path that was followed by the ancient. The new dawn, treading the eternal path of the Truth, follows it to the goal of the dawns that have gone before,-how many, who shall say? l

1 Arya, 'The Inconscient', Vol. II, pp. 112-20, September 1915.