Transition from Truth-Consciousness to Ignorance

When we recognize that the consciousness levels of Sat-Chit-Ananda are intrinsically a “truth-consciousness” and the supermind is the executive power of the Truth-Consciousness, we have to ask, how did the manifestation of Mind, Life and Matter become one of Ignorance?

Sri Aurobindo attributes this to the power of the overmind to work out each possibility in detail, and then to have them carry out their characteristic actions with an “exclusive concentration” that is so pervasive that it loses immediate awareness of the Oneness of which it is a part.

Sri Aurobindo explains that there is a separation, a filtering lens, if you will, between the supramental gradation of consciousness and the overmental gradation. This filter is transparent, so that the overmental gradation retains its innate awareness of the Oneness. There is a similar filtering lens between the overmental and the mental level, but in this case, it is more opaque, which permits therefore the quasi-independent action of each possibility of manifestation and the exclusive concentration which allows it to become Ignorant of its source and purpose.

Sri Aurobindo describes the result: “each mental being, each basic mental idea, power, force stands similarly on its separate self; if it communicates with or combines or contacts others, it is not with the catholic universality of the overmind movement, on a basis of underlying oneness, but as independent units joining to form a separate constructed whole. It is by this movement that we pass from the cosmic Truth into the cosmic Ignorance.”

From this point forward, the successively denser manifestations of mind, vital principal and matter all partake of this character of separation, division, fragmentation and ignorance.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 28, Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya

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Overmind as the Cosmic Maya of Knowledge

“If each principle loosed into action must follow its independent line and carry out its complete consequences, the principle of separation must also be allowed its complete course and arrive at its absolute consequence; this is the inevitable descent…which Consciousness, once it admits the separative principle, follows till it enters by obscuring infinitesimal fragmentation…, into the material Inconscience, –the Inconscient Ocean of the Rig Veda, — and if the One is born from that by its own greatness, it is still at first concealed by a fragmentary separative existence and consciousness which is ours and in which we have to piece things together to arrive at a whole.”

This concept of the consciousness of absolute fragmentation, which is described in the Rig Veda, mandala X, Sukta 129, is a very profound description of the development of such a perfect Ignorance, which we live in, that we lose basic awareness of the Oneness and comprehensive Unity of everything, and act as if we are separate, independent actors in the world, where we have to fight, and struggle to achieve our aggrandisement regardless of other beings, the environment, the larger cosmic unity or its purpose.

This concept, developed by the overmental consciousness to allow the creation of all possibiliies of existence, is embodied in the struggle of life against life, mind against mind, body against body, and is the underlying cause of the suffering in the world.

It is this Ignorance that allows us to wantonly act in ways that are destructive of beauty, harmony, peace, and which creates pain, suffering, and willful acts of disharmony including the way we treat our world environment.

All of this however is the cosmic illusion, the “maya of knowledge”, which is the creative force that manifests our existence.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 28, Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya