Supermind is the Creative and Unifying Principle

The Transcendent manifests through the two terms, the universe and the individual. This supreme state of reality conceals itself in the descent into the depths of matter, and then slowly unfolds and ascends from there through the ever-increasing powers of conscious awareness signified by Life and then by Mind. In each case, these are intermediate terms not masters of the evolutionary processes taking place. The mastery begins to show itself only when we go beyond the mental level to what can be termed the Supermind, or Supramental Level. At this level, the inherent all-inclusive, all-knowing, all-powerful inherent consciousness of Sat-Chit-Ananda becomes operative in a creative mode to organize, uplift, inspire and guide the evolutionary unfoldment. “Therefore our world has yet to climb beyond Mind to a higher principle, a higher status, a higher dynamism in which universe and individual become aware of and possess that which they both are and therefore stand explained to each other, in harmony with each other, unified.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 6, Man in the Universe


Existence, Consciousness and Bliss

“The Unknowable knowing itself as Sachchidananda is the one supreme affirmation of Vedanta; it contains all the others or on it they depend. This is the one veritable experience that remains when all appearances have been accounted for negatively by the elimination of their shapes and coverings or positively by the reduction of their names and forms to the constant truth that they contain.” Whatever we try to say about the universe, this experience of the pure Existent (Sat), Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Ananda) is the ultimate real and enduring truth. We may regard the forms as transitory and illusory, but behind the forms is the immensity of the silent brooding existence that upholds and informs all manifestation. We may regard our human intelligence as limited and fallible, but behind this lies the infinite Consciousness that creates the stars, the atoms, and all of life. We may wish to escape the wheel of suffering and the links of the chain that bind us to a life of pain and disillusionment, but behind this is the Eternal Bliss that accepts all energy and manifestation with an equal and transcendent joy.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 6, Man in the Universe

The Human Journey

“The ascent to the divine Life is the human journey, the Work of works, the acceptable Sacrifice. This alone is man’s real business in the world and the justification of his existence, without which he would be only an insect crawling among other ephemeral insects on a speck of surface mud and water which has managed to form itself amid the appalling immensities of the physical universe.”

The conscious existence which is involved in matter, and which progressively evolves out of matter to ever more self-aware and more powerful states of consciousness, is emerging out of that state of deeply involved inconscience to manifest absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and this is the state of transfiguration which provides the real meaning of the individual existence. The individual provides this absolute and eternal Being the opportunity to manifest in a state of relative difference and multiplicity, integrating the Oneness of the Absolute with the Multiplicity of the infinite number of forms and existences that populate that universe.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 6, Man in the Universe

God and Salvation

We generally conceive of God as being outside and superior to the creation and the universe, some kind of personified external creator independent and separate from the creation. This is more or less a raising up of the transcendent term of creation and a belittling of the individual and cosmic terms. This eventually will lead to the affirmation of the ascetic or otherworldly seeker and a denial of life and the cosmos.

Salvation of the individual then becomes an effort to remove oneself from life and achieve a realization or dissolution in that other-world. When we recognize however the integral nature and oneness of all 3 terms, it becomes clear that it is possible to realize God the transcendent while not denying reality or value to the cosmic and individual terms of existence.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 5, The Destiny of the Individual

Applying the “Hundredth Monkey” Phenomenon

“The liberation of the individual soul is therefore the keynote of the definite divine action; it is the primary divine necessity and the pivot on which all else turns.” This is the first step but what must also be recognized is that as individuals here and there achieve new states of consciousness and begin to integrate it into their life and action, it also extends itself horizontally and begins to replicate itself. Every liberated soul becomes a focus point for a radiant action that leads to similar liberation. This is not just done through immediate physical contact but through a more occult action at the level of life-force and mind-force, affecting this world and potentially even beyond the consciousness of terrestrial life.”

There is a phenomenon that has been recorded of a specific group of monkeys that learned how to wash fruit before eating it. The immediate group, directly affected by the new technique, of course picked it up quickly. But what startled the researchers was that once enough monkeys in the species adopted the practice, it suddenly and without direct transmission on a physical level began to arise in other similar groups of monkeys elsewhere. This led to the formulation of the “hundredth monkey” phenomenon and illustrates the point Sri Aurobindo is making about the replication of the liberated state, both here and in other worlds potentially, as individuals begin to achieve that liberation. Sri Aurobindo describes clearly here the working of this “hundredth monkey” phenomenon as part of the occult process of the evolutionary force bringing a new capacity of consciousness into being, manifesting it, and then replicating it in other receptive souls.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 5, The Destiny of the Individual

The Individual at the Nexus of Manifestation

“Just as we need not give up the bodily life to attain to the mental and spiritual, so we can arrive at a point of view where the preservation of the individual activities is no longer inconsistent with our comprehension of the cosmic consciousness or our attainment to the transcendent and supracosmic.”

“The individual is a centre of the whole universal consciousness; the universe is a form and definition which is occupied by the entire immanence of the Formless and Indefinable.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 5, The Destiny of the Individual

Aligning The Individual with Divine Purpose

The rule of self-realization involves a progressive unfolding. The earlier, less self-aware levels of consciousness remain in place as a basis or foundation upon which to build, even when we overpass them with a new level of manifestation. The goal then becomes to transform that pre-existing basis of consciousness, rather than abandon it or deny its reality. This unifies the individual’s destiny with the general evolutionary impetus of consciousness in manifestation, aligning the individual with the Divine Purpose.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 5, The Destiny of the Individual

Reality Omnipresent

Spirit and Matter reconciled in the cosmic consciousness, and Being and Non-Being reconciled in the Transcendent consciousness. Sri Aurobindo points out that all affirmations of Being are status or activity, while all negations are assertions of freedom both within and beyond that activity. Brahman manifests the universe, not as an illusion, but a reality, an “omnipresent reality”.

“One without a second” is not the sole statement; we also need to affirm that “all this is the Brahman”. What we presume in our limited view to be evil, ignorance, weakness are aspects of that sole reality that we have simply not had the ability to fully grasp and understand.

All the dualities of the universe are aspects of that omnipresent reality, and they all exist based on a Wisdom beyond the human mentality. The further we go in widening and uplifting our understanding, the more we can comprehend the ultimate Oneness and integral connection between these extremes. A spiritual unfolding of consciousness from level to level, an evolution of what was involved in the deepest depths of matter, to achieve ever greater states of Consciousness, Existence and Bliss, is the secret that holds within it the reconciliation of all our “irreconcilable” viewpoints. Reality, Omnipresent, One, containing, upholding and supporting all existence, but ever transcending the limits of that existence, is the key that unlocks the mystery of the dualities for us.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 4, Reality Omnipresent

The Purpose of Man in God’s Creation

The oneness of the Brahman is not in opposition to the multiplicity of the manifestation which is still the Brahman, the “one without a second”. We however also cannot get caught up in trying to define or limit the Brahman to any particular form or formulation of existence. Therefore, we see the vedantic formulation “neti, neti” not this, not that, to remind us that we cannot capture Brahman in human thought or word.

There is no opposition between the One and the Many in this formulation of an omnipresent reality.

Man’s importance in this scheme of things is to act as the point at which Brahman can become self-conscious of its evolutionary life expressions in material forms and thought. “To fulfill God in life is man’s manhood.” “A divine existence is his objective.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 5, The Destiny of the Individual

Being and Non-Being

The Truth of Being, Manifestation, Action, “The Word” is often set off against the “opposing” truth of Non-Being, The Unmanifest, Inaction, The Vast Eternal Silence. Because of limitations of human mind and thought, we want to affirm the one versus the other, and stake the reality of the one against the unreality of the other.

However, these two states are not actually in opposition to one another, but mutually supportive and simply different views of the one Brahman, positive and negative poles of the universal creation.

We call the experience of Non-Being in order to affirm the freedom of the One Sole Existent beyond the limits of the manifestation. The Non-Being is like a womb or web that upholds and permits the manifestation of Being.

When we experience the overwhelming force of the Non-Existent, that vast, silent, unmoving, inactive and uninvolved state of pure awareness, we tend to limit the Truth to this experience, when in fact the truth of the manifestation is every bit as real and every bit the Brahman of the negative state.

We see that the realized souls, even those who preach the experience of the uninvolved, the dissolution from the chain of manifestation, have found a way to balance these two states in their own lives and action, and thus we see a Buddha who can have a profound impact on the world, or a Shankara who can actively preach and expound the Truth of the Illusion. These are not contradictions in them, but simply limitations within our own mentality that causes us to raise questions about how Action and Inaction, Being and Non-Being can both exist simultaneously and be mutually supportive rather than exclusive.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 4, Reality Omnipresent