Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Supramental Manifestation

The Supramental Manifestation 3

From Mind to Supermind II

We have seen that according to Sri Aurobindo, the higher hemisphere of existence begins with Supermind, but one has to go across several mental worlds, which are clearly above the ordinary mind, where we generally dwell and which we believe to be the Mind. These are, as seen earlier, the levels of the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, the Intuitive Mind or Intuition, and Overmind, in an ascending order. And the supramental plane is beyond all these planes.
The Higher Mind is the first of the supra-rational levels or grades of existence, the first level of the Spiritual Mind or of the Superconscient. It is a stage of evolution beyond the rational mind, and is also an ascent to a plane above the level of pure thinking mind.
The Higher Mind has its origin in Overmind and, in an ulterior manner, in Supermind. The first decisive step beyond our normal human Intelligence, our ordinary mentality, is an ascent into the Higher Mind, which is not any more a mind of mingled light, obscurity or half-light. It has a large clarity of the Spirit.

About the Higher Mind, Sri Aurobindo has said:
Its basic substance is a unitarian sense of being with a powerful multiple dynamisation capable of the formation of a multitude of aspects of knowledge, ways of action, forms and significances of becoming, of all of which there is a spontaneous inherent knowledge. It is therefore a power that has proceeded from the Overmind, -- but with the Supermind as its ulterior origin, -- as all these greater powers have proceeded: but its special character, its activity of consciousness is dominated by Thought; it is a luminous thought-mind, a mind of Spirit-born conceptual knowledge. [ The Life Divine ]

Because of the original identity of the Higher Mind with Overmind — and also with Supermind — it has an all-awareness, and it also carries the truths held in this identity. The Higher Mind has a capacity of a swift, victorious and multitudinous conception. The Higher Mind is also a greater mind of knowledge, and its Ideas have the self-power of realizing its conceptions.
In Evolution, our ordinary mind had a task to do: raising of the consciousness beyond matter and life, beyond ignorant animal hood. But as it came to enlighten and lead, it became engrossed and involved in darkness and ignorance.

An errant ray from the immortal Mind
Accepted the earth's blindness and became
Our human thought, servant of Ignorance.
An exile, labourer on this unsure globe
Captured and driven in Life's nescient grasp,
Hampered by obscure cell and treacherous nerve,
It dreams of happier states and nobler powers,
The natural privilege of unfallen gods,
Recalling still its old lost sovereignty. [Savitri]

Beyond our ordinary mind, which is fundamentally a principle of Ignorance, the Higher Mind is the first step, the first plane of existence. In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo refers to this plane as the Greater Mind, Thought and the Spirit of Mind.

For Thought transcends the circles of mortal mind,
It is greater than its earthly instrument:
The godhead crammed into mind's narrow space
Escapes on every side into some vast
That is a passage to infinity.
It moves eternal in the spirit's field,
A runner towards the far spiritual light,
A child and servant of the spirit's force. [Savitri]

The Higher Mind is the realm of the greater Thought. Here, there is no necessity of arriving at a proposition by logical reasoning (such as the one that must follow from the major and minor premises of a syllogism), a proposition that is a search and also is critical of oneself and one's errors. Here, there are no logical steps towards a conclusion, there is no mechanism of deductions and inferences, no linking together of ideas as in a chain in order to arrive at some knowledge, for the limping action of Reason is a movement of Ignorance in search of knowledge, and it protects its steps against error and erects “a selective mental structure for its temporary shelter” basing it on foundations which are already carefully laid but are never firm, not supported on a soil of innate awareness. The foundations are “imposed on an original soil of nescience.” [Words selected from The Life Divine ]

The Higher Mind is also beyond the mental intuition, “that other way of our mind at its keenest and swiftest, a rapid hazardous divination and insight, a play of the searchlight of intelligence probing into the little known or the unknown.” [Words selected from The Life Divine ]

It is therefore beyond the two conventional ways of reaching and finding Truth : logical reasoning, which is slow and limping, and intuition, which is quick but occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time.

The Higher Mind is a Knowledge that formulates itself on a basis of self-existent all-awareness and manifests some part of its integrality, a harmony of its significances being put into thought-form. It can freely express itself in single ideas. Its most characteristic movement is a mass ideation, a system or totality of truth-seeing at a single view. Here, the relations between ideas, between one truth and another are not established by logic; but they pre-exist and emerge as already seen in the integral whole. Here, there is an initiation into forms of an ever-present knowledge, which is till now inactive. This knowledge is not a system of conclusions from premises or data. But this thought is a self-revelation of eternal Wisdom, not an acquired knowledge. There is a great totality of truth known and experienced, but still this totality is capable of infinite enlargement, having no end to the aspects of knowledge.

Besides the aspect of cognition, the Higher Mind has also the aspect of will, of dynamic effectuation of the Truth. Here, this greater and more brilliant Mind works always on the rest of the being, “the mental will, the heart and its feelings, the life, the body, through the power of thought, through the idea-force.” [ The Life Divine ] It tries to purify, deliver and create through knowledge. The idea is put into the heart or the life as a force to be accepted and worked out. Heart and life become conscious of the idea and respond to its dynamisms. Their substance begins to change itself accordingly, and the feelings and actions become the vibrations of this higher wisdom, become informed with it and are filled with the emotion and the sense of it. The will and the life impulses are charged with its power, in a similar way. The idea works even in the body, and as a result, for example, the powerful thought and will of health replaces the faith of the body in illness and its consent to illness, or the idea of strength calls in the substance, power, motion, vibration of strength. The idea generates proper force and form and imposes it on our substance of Mind, Life or Body. In this way its working proceeds and it charges the whole being with a new and superior consciousness, laying down a foundation of change, and prepares it for a superior truth of existence.

This distinction between cognition and action, between Idea and Will, between Chit and Tapas (Consciousness and Force), is maintained by Sri Aurobindo in all levels, even up to Supermind.
The presence and influence of the Higher Mind is often found in philosophers and thinkers, and it is less opaque and has more freedom. The background is no longer fully gray or with the gray borders on the blue. And the little bursts of light that descend are less quickly swallowed by the darkness of ignorance. The descending bursts of life are more intense, more abundant and frequent than in the ordinary mind. Joy lasts longer, love becomes wider. We become aware and conscious of true and causeless love and joy — we come to know them properly. The movements are less subject to the endless conditions of the lower levels of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of ‘the Spirit of Mind’ and ‘the great stairs of thought,’ while referring to the Higher Mind, the Greater Mind.

In gleaming clarities of amethyst air
The chainless and omnipotent Spirit of Mind
Brooded on the blue lotus of the Idea.
A gold supernal sun of timeless
Truth Poured down the mystery of the eternal Ray
Through a silence quivering with the word of Light
On an endless ocean of discovery.
Far-off he saw the joining hemispheres.
On meditation's mounting edge of trance
Great stairs of thought climbed up to unborn heights
Where Time's last ridges touch eternity's skies
And Nature speaks to the spirit's absolute. [Savitri]

Regarding the influence of the Higher Mind or the Greater Mind on our ordinary world of Death and Ignorance, we find the reference below:

Awake in a luminous sphere unbound by Thought,
Exposed to omniscient immensities,
It casts on our world its great crowned influences,
Its speed that outstrips the ambling of the hours,
Its force that strides invincibly through Time,
Its mights that bridge the gulf twixt man and God,
Its lights that combat Ignorance and Death. [Savitri]

In the realm of Ignorance, these higher forces of the planes of the Superconscient become limited. When the superior power of these higher planes of Mind is first perceived or experienced on earth, a natural misconception can easily arise regarding their vast possibilities. But in the lower world the situation is not the same as in their own realm.

Sri Aurobindo has said:
It has here to be emphasized that these higher forces are not in their descent immediately all-powerful as they would naturally be in their own plane of action and in their own medium. In the evolution in Matter they have to enter into a foreign and inferior medium and work upon it; they encounter there the incapacities of our mind and life and body, meet with the unreceptiveness or blind refusal of the Ignorance, experience the negation and obstruction of the Inconscience. On their own level they work upon a basis of luminous consciousness and luminous substance of being and are automatically effective; but here they have to encounter an already and strongly formed foundation of Nescience, --- not only the complete nescience of Matter, but the modified nescience of mind and heart and life. [The Life Divine]

When the Higher Mind descends, the ordinary mind, along with the lower nature, puts resistance. The descent of the higher Idea from the Higher Mind is possible only into the developed mental intelligence, but even there it has to overcome the heavy obstruction from a mass or system of formed ideas belonging to the mental plane and also the will to persistence and self-realization of these ideas. For all ideas are forces and have a formative or self-effective faculty greater or less according to the conditions. Thus there is a power of resistance readily formed which opposes or minimizes the effects of the descending Light, a resistance which may turn into a refusal, a rejection of the Light, or become an attempt to impair, subdue, cleverly modify or change or perversely deform the light, so as to make it suitable to the ideas of the Ignorance.

Unless one is very open and receptive to higher truths, one's preconceived ideas will obstruct and ruin everything. Not only any kind of belief that adheres to exact word or letters, but also philosophical and intellectual ideas and conceptions, which may seem to be all right on their own level, may cause resistance to the Higher Light.

Resistance is also put by the lower levels of the being. When the ideas, that are preconceived or already formed, are dismissed and are not allowed to persist any further, they still recur from outside, as they are still in force and currency in the universal Mind, or they may recede downwards into the vital, physical or subconscient parts and from there sweep back or rise again at the least opportunity to reconquer their lost sphere. Evolutionary Nature gives this right of persistence to things that were once established by her for bringing “a sufficient steadiness and solidity to her steps.” [The Life Divine ]

This "right of persistence" is a necessity of Nature for a progressive evolutionary manifestation in the world of "collision and struggle and intermixture of Forces".

There is resistance in the Vital and the Subconscious, in the lower levels of being, in the heart and life and body. The same phenomenon recurs here more intensely. The Higher Light does not meet the ideas here, but meets “emotions, desires, impulses, sensations, vital needs and habits of the lower Nature…” They are less conscious than ideas and, therefore, are blinder in their response and more obstinate and self-assertive.

Sri Aurobindo says :
This power of persistence, recurrence, resistance of established things in Nature is always the great obstacle which the evolutionary Force has to meet, which it has indeed itself created in order to prevent a too rapid transmutation even when that transmutation is its own eventual intention in things. [ The Life Divine ]

We have thus seen that the old nature and the old habits in matter and life and the ordinary mind pose stubborn resistance and obstructions to the Descent of the Higher Light. This has to be overcome, and for this purpose, most of the spiritual teachings prefer the ascetic path of renunciation and transcendence, without bringing any change or transformation to this world. But Sri Aurobindo has shown us the Way which is greater and nobler than renouncing and transcending the world, the Way of transformation of matter and the lower nature, with a view to further the Evolution towards the complete and integral manifestation of the Divine, of the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss in Matter, on earth, which will not be a Nirvana, a return to the Unmanifest.

The lower nature resists Transformation also. At each level of the Ascent, the resistance and the obstacle may progressively diminish, but they will be there. To enable the descent and working of the Higher Light — from the Higher Mind to the Supermind — without a heavy resistance and obstruction, the seeker has to acquire a deep quietude of the nature, a control and tranquility and even silence in his mind and life and body. Still then, the universal Ignorance and obscurity in the individual make of mind and life and body may create resistance and obstruction.
A psychic tranformation and in a greater degree a spiritual tranformation will reduce the hold of the Ignorance. But these influences do not altogether eliminate the resistance, obstruction and limitation. The original basis of Nescience will still be there, requiring always to be changed, enlightened, and diminished in its extent and action. The power of the spiritual Higher Mind will be modified and diminished at its entrance into our ordinary mind and as a result it will not be sufficient to remove all these obstacles. But it can make a first change, which will enable a higher ascent and a more powerful descent and further prepare the seeker for a greater Force of consciousness and knowledge and action. The Illumined Mind is the next greater Force.

Barindranath Chaki

References :

The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo
Savitri by Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo or The Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem
KHEPER — The Kheper Website of M Alan Kazlev

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