The first question:
Would you please comment further on the differences between C. G. Jung’s “process of individuation” and the essence of The Secret of the Golden Flower?
Habib, Carl Gustav Jung was groping in the right direction but he had not yet arrived. It was not his own experience, it was a philosophy. He was thinking about individuation, he was going into the idea of individuation, deeper and deeper. But it was not his own meditation, it was not his own existential experience.
The Secret of the Golden Flower is an alchemical process. These are the words of those who have known.
Jung was not an individual in the sense of individuation; he was yet divided: he had the conscious mind and the unconscious mind and the collective unconscious mind. He was not one, he himself was a multiplicity. He was a crowd as everybody else is. He had all the fears, all the greeds, all the ambitions that any normal human being is expected to have. He was not a buddha, he was not enlightened. He had not known his own inner being which is timeless.
In the moment of inner illumination, all differences and distinctions disappear. There is only pure consciousness – neither conscious nor unconscious nor collective unconscious.
The same was happening with Sri Aurobindo in India. He was also talking about conscious mind and the superconscious mind, and so on and so forth.
In the moment of illumination mind disappears. Mind means division. Whether you divide it into conscious and unconscious or you divide it into conscious and superconscious does not make a difference: mind means division. Individuality means undividedness. That is the meaning of the word individual: indivisible. Mind is bound to be a crowd. Mind cannot be one – by its very nature it has to be many. And when the mind disappears, the one is found. Then you have come home. That is individuation.
But still I say Jung was groping in the right direction – but still groping in the dark. He has not yet arrived at the door, he had dreamt about the door.
There are parallels in human history. For example, Democritus, the Greek thinker, had stumbled upon the idea of the atom without any experimentation. There was no possibility to experiment in his days, no modern sophisticated techniques were available. He could not have divided the atom, he could not have come to the atomic structure of matter, but he speculated. He must have been a great thinker – but only a thinker. He stumbled upon the idea of atomism.