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What is Curiosity?

Not to live principally in the activities of the sense-mind, but in the activities of knowledge and reason and a wide intellectual curiosity, the activities of the cultivated aesthetic being, the activities of the enlightened will which make for character and high ethical ideals and a large human action, not to be governed by our lower or our average mentality but by truth and beauty and the self-ruling will is the ideal of a true culture and the beginning of an accomplished humanity. [1]


If you know how to rise to a higher level, simply into a region of the speculative mind which is not quite the ordinary physical mind, you can see all this play and all this struggle, all this conflict, all these contradictions as a curiosity which does not touch or affect you. If you rise a step higher still and see the goal towards which you want to go, you will gradually come to discern between ideas favourable to your progress which you will keep, and ideas opposed to this progress which harm and impair it; and from above you will have the power to set them aside, calmly, without being otherwise affected by them. But if you remain there, at that level in the midst of that confusion and conflict, well, you risk getting a headache! [2]

Curiosity and Aspiration

...there is a very great difference… between a kind of mental curiosity which plays with words and ideas, and a true aspiration of the being which means that truly, really, it is that which counts, essentially, and nothing else―that aspiration, that inner will because of which nothing has any value except that, that realisation; nothing counts except that; there is no other reason for existence, for living, than that. [3]

Intellectual Curiosity and Sadhana

Dedication to the Divine [is the right attitude in reading]. To read what will help the Yoga or what will be useful for the work or what will develop the capacities for the divine purpose. Not to read worthless stuff or for mere entertainment or for a dilettante intellectual curiosity which is of the nature of a mental dramdrinking. When one is established in the highest consciousness, one can read nothing or everything: it makes no difference… [4]

Curiosity and Lower Vital Forces

You cannot escape from these lower vital forces by being curious about them. This kind of curiosity only encourages and invites them and keeps them recurring. Their whole force is in their power of mechanical recurrence and, if you allow that, you will never get rid of them. Incoherence and confusion are the very nature of these forces and, if you encourage them, your whole nature will become a field of confusion and incoherence. The only way to know them and get rid of them is to be always above, in your true consciousness, in contact with the Mother's light and force. The light and force will then descend upon them, at once showing what they are and dissolving and eliminating them and changing that part of the nature. But first you must learn to keep always in contact with the Mother, always in the true consciousness, only then can these things be dealt with safely. [5]

Lack of Curiosity is Generally Due to Mental Inertia

Are mental indifference and lack of curiosity a sort of mental inertia?

Usually they are due to mental inertia, unless one has obtained calm and indifference through a very intense sadhana resulting in a perfect equality for which the good and bad, the pleasant and unpleasant no longer exist. But in that case, mental activity is replaced by an intuitive activity of a much higher kind. [6]

Unhealthy Mental Curiosity

Mental curiosity must be seriously controlled for it not to be dangerous. [7]


Immediately there comes the how and why [in understanding the action of the Force in oneself]. But that belongs to the domain of mental curiosity, because the important thing is to stop the resistance. That is the important thing, to stop the resistance so that the universe can become what it should be: the expression of a harmonious, luminous, wonderful power, of an unparalleled beauty. Afterwards, when the resistance has stopped, if out of curiosity we want to know why it happened... it won't matter any more. But now, one cannot find the remedy by seeking the reason why, but by taking the true attitude. That is the only thing that matters. [8]


There are people who have it [faith], and then they have contrary movements which come and attack. These people, if their will is sincere, can shield their faith, repel the attacks. There are others who cultivate doubt because it is a kind of dilettantism—that, there's nothing more dangerous than that. It is as though one were letting the worm into the fruit: it eventually eats it up completely. This means that when a movement of this sort comes—it usually comes first into the mind—the first thing to do is to be very plucky and refuse it. Surely one must not enjoy looking on just to see what is going to happen; that kind of curiosity is terribly dangerous. [9]


The mind by its nature is curious and interested; it sees, it observes, it tries to understand and explain; and with all this activity, it disturbs the experience and diminishes its intensity and force. [10]


But those who indulge in this [planchette etc. which open to the vital entities] exercise, an exercise of unhealthy curiosity, get what they deserve; for the atmosphere we live in is filled with a great number of small vital entities which are born of unsatisfied desires, vital movements of a very low type, also the decomposition of larger beings of the vital world; indeed, it is swarming with them, you see. It is surely a protection that most people do not see what is going on in this vital atmosphere, for it is not especially pleasant; but if they have the presumption to want to come into contact with it and set about trying automatic writing or table-turning or... indeed, anything of this kind, out of an unhealthy curiosity, well, what happens is that one of these small entities or several of them have fun at their expense and collect all the necessary indications from their subconscious mind and then furnish these things to them as clear proofs that they are the person who has been called! [11]


Obviously, curiosity and gossip and wrong imaginations cannot be “helpful to sadhana”. The messages are not meant as food for gossip, but to give the sadhaks indications that can be of use to them in their sadhana. If they misuse them in this way, it is their own loss. [12]

Why is Curiosity Important in Learning?

...till a certain age, so long as one is very young, it is good to develop oneself, to spread out as much as possible in all directions, to draw out all the potentialities one holds, and turn them into expressed, conscious, active things, so as to have a fairly solid foundation for the ascent [towards supermind]. That is why you must learn, love to learn, always learn, not waste your time in... well, in filling yourself with useless things or doing useless things. You must do everything with this aim, to enrich your possibilities, develop those you have, acquire new ones, and become as complete, as perfect a human being as you can. That is, even on this line you must take things seriously, not simply pass your time because you are here, and waste it as much as possible because you have to pass it somehow. [13]

How to Develop Curiosity?

By Developing Love to Learn

You must have a great deal of sincerity, a little courage and perseverance and then a sort of mental curiosity, you understand, curious, seeking to know, interested, wanting to learn. To love to learn: that, one must have in one's nature. To find it impossible to stand before something grey, all hazy, in which nothing is seen clearly and which gives you quite an unpleasant feeling, for you do not know where you begin and where you end, what is yours and what is not yours and what is settled and what is not settled—what is this pulp-like thing you call yourself in which things get intermingled and act upon one another without even your being aware of it? You ask yourself: "But why have I done this?" You know nothing about it. "And why have I felt that?" You don't know that, either. And then, you are thrown into a world outside that is only fog and you are thrown into a world inside that is also for you another kind of fog, still more impenetrable, in which you live, like a cork thrown upon the waters and the waves carry it away or cast it into the air, and it drops and rolls on. That is quite an unpleasant state. I do not know, but to me it appears unpleasant. [14]


Undeniably, what most impedes mental progress in children is the constant dispersion of their thoughts. Their thoughts flutter hither and thither like butterflies and they have to make a great effort to fix them. Yet this capacity is latent in them, for when you succeed in arousing their interest, they are capable of a good deal of attention. By his ingenuity, therefore, the educator will gradually help the child to become capable of a sustained effort of attention and a faculty of more and more complete absorption in the work in hand. All methods that can develop this faculty of attention from games to rewards are good and can all be utilised according to the need and the circumstances. But it is the psychological action that is most important and the sovereign method is to arouse in the child an interest in what you want to teach him, a liking for work, a will to progress. To love to learn is the most precious gift that one can give to a child: to love to learn always and everywhere, so that all circumstances, all happenings in life may be constantly renewed opportunities for learning more and always more. [15]


The student should come to school not like someone going to his daily grind because he cannot avoid it, but because it would be possible for him to do something interesting. The teacher should not be in school, come to school with the idea that for half an hour or three-quarters of an hour he is going to recite something which he has more or less well prepared and which is boring even for him, and that therefore he cannot amuse the students, but instead to try to come into contact mentally—and if possible more deeply—with a number of little developing individualities who, we hope, have some curiosity about things, and in order to be able to satisfy this curiosity. So he himself must be aware, very modestly, that he does not know enough and that he has a lot to learn; but not to learn from books—by trying to understand life. [16]

Through Education

What can we do to obtain calm and quietness in the class and get the children to do some work?

The only effective thing is to create or awaken in them a real interest in study, the need to learn and to know, to awaken their mental curiosity. [17]


G: (Referring to L, who wrote to Mother asking how Aurovilians should relate to the local villagers) This is L. He is the one who asked the questions.

Ah! For your questions, the best way, you see, it is education. To educate them not by words and speeches but by example. If you can make them mix with your life and your work, and they get the influence of your way of being, your way of understanding, then, little by little, they will change. And when they become curious and ask questions, then it will be time to answer and to tell them what you know. [18]


You will gradually show the child that everything can become an interesting subject for study if it is approached in the right way. The life of every day, of every moment, is the best school of all, varied, complex, full of unexpected experiences, problems to be solved, clear and striking examples and obvious consequences. It is so easy to arouse healthy curiosity in children, if you answer with intelligence and clarity the numerous questions they ask. An interesting reply to one readily brings others in its train and so the attentive child learns without effort much more than he usually does in the classroom. By a choice made with care and insight, you should also teach him to enjoy good reading-matter which is both instructive and attractive. Do not be afraid of anything that awakens and pleases his imagination; imagination develops the creative mental faculty and through it study becomes living and the mind develops in joy. [19]

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