Thursday, November 16, 2006
The Supramental Manifestation 2
From Mind to Supermind I
According to Sri Aurobindo, the higher hemisphere of existence begins with Supermind. But before reaching Supermind, one has to pass through several mental worlds, which are distinctly above the ordinary mind — the ordinary mind, where we generally dwell and which we believe to be the Mind. These are, as we have seen earlier, the levels of the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, the Intuitive Mind or Intuition, and Overmind, in an ascending order. Obviously, these planes are not the supramental plane, which is beyond them. Sri Aurobindo has given these names to these planes of consciousness and has also described them in distinct terms.
These planes can be experienced by the people who are so capable. According to Sri Aurobindo, these four planes constitute the Superconscient, or the Super-consciousness, but again, these superconscient planes do not constitute the supramental plane: though, they definitely lead, in an ascending order, towards the Supermind.
It may be so that for a few persons, the Higher Mind or even the Illumined Mind does not seem to be super-conscious, as that may be a part of their waking consciousness. As evolution makes progress, the seeker ascends to these peaks of consciousness one after another and makes them part of their normal waking consciousness.
The Superconscient is our evolutionary future, just as the subconsciousness in our mental principle is our evolutionary past.
In this connection, Satprem says:
Each of them is a whole world of existence, vaster and more full of activity than the earth, and our mental language is ill-suited to describe them; we would need the language of the visionary or the poet — “another language,” said Rimbaud. This is what Sri Aurobindo did in Savitri, his epic poem to which we refer the reader.
A million lotuses swaying on our stem,
World after coloured and ecstatic world
Climbs toward some far unseen epiphany.
When we ascend to these planes of mind, our vision of the world gets transformed. We might have observed that the ordinary mind sees things step by step, in succession and in a linear way. It cannot see or understand or comprehend more than one thing at a time. It cannot take any leap, surpassing logic, as in such a situation, things would appear hazy, irrational or incoherent to our ordinary mind. When it accepts something as fact or as truth, then all that is different from that fact or truth is rejected as false. That is the reason of the problem that if we accept one philosophy or one religion, we discard others and there is clash and intolerance. The ordinary mind operates with all limitations, like a closed box. Satprem says: it works like a camera shutter, letting in one and only one image at a time. Anything that is not found on its momentary little screen belongs to the limbo of error, of falsehood and darkness. All things thus fit in an inexorable system of opposites — white or black, truth or error, God or Satan — and it plods along like donkey on a road, seeing one tuft of grass after another.
The ordinary mind relentlessly forms little pieces of time and space. The more there is descent in the levels of consciousness, the pieces of time and space get smaller and smaller. Whatever comes in front of its narrow and limited focus appears to be true, and other things are in error, are wrong and untrue. It has divided time past, present and future. It differentiates between truth and so-called falsehood, good and evil, and sees several opposites. It analyses, but has not ordinarily learned to make a synthesis. We see one colour and speak of black and white, and puzzle and ponder over the problem of various colours of life and reality in an effort to solve or understand it. The ordinary mind is incapable of having a true picture, a true understanding of Truth, of Reality.
But there is the thirst in us, the aspiration in us, for more and more understanding, more and more comprehension, more and more enlightenment. That is the Fire in us, which does not have its source in the ‘ordinary mind’: but it is an inextinguishable flame, an inextinguishable fire, which is burning in our psychic being, in our soul, and which does not depend upon any religion, any intellectual philosophy, any mental construction.
A disciple asked The Mother [Mira Alfassa] :
Each time that I try to rise a little, there is a setback.
The Mother replied :
As for your progress — it is because you are trying mentally and the mental is always a limitation to the consciousness. It is only as the aspiration from the heart and the psychic that can be effective. (And when you stop trying, you let me work in you and I know the proper way!)
[The Words of the Mother: Collected Works Vol. 14]
The Mother further said in another occasion :
It is only love that can understand and get at the secrets of the Divine Working. The mind, the physical mind especially, is incapable of seeing correctly and yet it always wants to judge. It is only a true humility in the mind, allowing the psychic to rule the being, that can save human beings from ignorance and obscurity.
Mind has become a field of errors, of ignorance and doubt and obscurity, of lies and falsehood. Mind wanders all the time. It is like a public square.
The Mother has said :
Some people call it a public square, because everything comes there, goes across, passes, comes back … All ideas go there, they enter at one place, leave by another, some are here, some there, and it is a public square, not very well organized, for usually ideas meet and knock into one another, there are accidents of all kinds.
She has further said :
In the human mind there is a morbid and deplorable habit of doubt, argument, skepticism.
And again, She has said :
It is a disease of the ordinary human intellect — which comes, moreover, from separation, division — to make a thing always either this or that. If you choose this, you turn your back on that; if you choose that, you turn your back on this.
It is an impoverishment. One must know how to take up everything, combine everything, synthetise everything. And then one has an integral realization.
Sri Aurobindo says : Mind is only a preparatory form of consciousness.
Mind cannot see the whole, it sees the part only. The whole seems to the mind to be only the assemblage of several parts. Sri Aurobindo has said : Mind is a passage, not a culmination.
Sri Aurobindo says:
But first he met a silver-grey expanse
Where Day and Night had wedded and were one:
It was a tract of dim and shifting rays
Parting Life's sentient flow from Thought's self-poise.
A coalition of uncertainties
There exercised uneasy government
On a ground reserved for doubt and reasoned guess,
A rendezvous of Knowledge with Ignorance.
At its low extremity held difficult sway
A mind that hardly saw and slowly found;
Its nature to our earthly nature close
And kin to our precarious mortal thought
That looks from soil to sky and sky to soil
But knows not the below nor the beyond,
It only sensed itself and outward things.
This was the first means of our slow ascent
From the half-conscience of the animal soul
Living in a crowded press of shape-events
In a realm it cannot understand nor change;
Only it sees and acts in a given scene
And feels and joys and sorrows for a while.
The ideas that drive the obscure embodied spirit
Along the roads of suffering and desire
In a world that struggles to discover Truth,
Found here their power to be and Nature-force.
Here are devised the forms of an ignorant life
[Savitri, Book II, Canto X]
However, originally, Mind is a principle of Light. Mind has a purpose and a meaning. Sri Aurobindo again says :
Escaping over a wide and shimmering bridge,
He came into a realm of early Light
And the regency of a half-risen sun.
Out of its rays our mind's full orb was born.
Appointed by the Spirit of the Worlds
To mediate with the unknowing depths,
A prototypal deft Intelligence
Half-poised on equal wings of thought and doubt
Toiled ceaselessly twixt being's hidden ends.
[Savitri, Book II, Canto X]
Whatever may be Mind’s imperfections, it had and has a special purpose in the evolutionary progress. Originally, Mind is a principle of Light amid darkness, an instrument of and from the Supermind, set to work for further evolutionary progress on earth.
Sri Aurobindo says:
Mind is not in its very nature an inventor of errors, a father of lies bound down to a capacity of falsehood, wedded to its own mistakes and the leader of a stumbling life as it too largely is at present, owing to our human shortcomings : it is in its origin, a principle of light, an instrument put forth from the Supermind and though set to work within limits and set to create limits, yet the limits are luminous borders for a special working, voluntary and purposive bounds, a service of the finite ever extending itself under the eye of infinity. It is this character Mind that will reveal itself under the touch of Supermind and make human mentality an adjunct and a minor instrumentation of the supramental knowledge. It will even be possible for the mind no longer limited by the intellect to become capable of a sort of mental gnosis, a luminous representation of the Truth in a diminished working extending the power of light not only to its own but to lower levels of consciousness in their climb towards self transcendence. Overmind, Intuition, Illumined Mind and what I have called the Higher Mind, these and the other levels of a spiritualised and liberated mentality, will be able to reflect in the uplifted human mind and its purified and exalted feeling and force of life and action something of their powers and prepare the ascent of the soul to their own plateaus and peaks of an ascending existence. This is essentially the change which can be contemplated as a result of the new evolutionary order and it would mean considerable extension over the evolutionary field itself.
But when we ascend in the planes of the Superconscient, from Mind to Supermind, through the four planes of higher consciousness, mentioned earlier, our vision and consciousness then widens, step by step, more and more from the narrow, limited, ignorant, linear consciousness, full of contradictions, to the global consciousness. Supermind is described by Sri Aurobindo as the global consciousness, as the higher hemisphere of consciousness. Hemisphere means half of the terrestrial globe. The higher Truth is not separated or isolated from the earth. The whole Truth is not without the lower half, the higher is not opposed to the lower, rather, it fulfils the lower Truth. The descent of the Supramental is for the fulfilment of the earth. We are to search and find the Infinite in the finite, the Eternal in the temporal, the Whole in the fraction. And that is the promise to be fulfilled by the descent of the Supramental Consciousness.
Satprem further says :
The ascent of consciousness is not only the story of the conquest of time, it is also the conquest of joy, of love, of the vastness of being.
From ordinary mind to the plane of Overmind — and even to the plane of the Supermind — it is the quality of light and the quality of vibrations that differ. And this quality of light and vibrations distinguishes one plane from the other. And if we look at the ordinary mind in its aspect of light from the Seer’s viewpoint, we find that the Light here has a sort of grayness, along with ‘a number of dark little spots’ or some obscure vibratory small nodes or knobs or knots. They move like a swarm of flies, flying from one person to another. Sometimes, there is a descent of a little burst of light, a little joy or a little love, into the grayness of the ordinary mind. According to Sri Aurobindo, this plane of ordinary mind is a ground of neutrality, which is thick and sticky, absorbing, which is subject to a number of conditions, which discolours everything and has an obscure gravitation pulling everything down.
We shall see next about the ascending planes of the Superconscient and our progress in those realms.