Mind is a Derivative Power of Consciousness

As we try to sort out the nature of Reality in relation to the analogies such as dream, hallucination, vision etc. it becomes clear that what we are really in need of at this point is to understand the nature of Mind in relation to Reality, because all of these examples represent errors of perception or errors of interpretation and thus come back to the nature of the Mind and how it can fall into error.

Sri Aurobindo provides us the various options for the nature of mind: “Is mind the child and instrument of an original Illusion, or is it itself a primal miscreating Force or Consciousness? or is the mental ignorance a misprision of the truths of Existence, a deviation from an original Truth-Consciousness which is the real world-builder?”

Sri Aurobindo concludes that we can clearly eliminate the idea of the Mind being a primary or original creative power, and that it by its nature must be a derivative power, subject to influence and limitation by what is above and what is below. “Our mind stands between a superconscience and an inconscience and receives from both these opposite powers: it stands between an occult subliminal existence and an outward cosmic phenomenon; it receives inspirations, intuitions, imaginations, impulsions to knowledge and action, figures of subjective realities or possibilities from the unknown inner source; it receives the figures of realised actualities and their suggestions of further possibility form the observed cosmic phenomenon.”

The mind selects, combines, and reacts to these impulsions, but it does not create them initially. It attempts to carry out various of these impulsions, receiving them from below, from within and from above; and it therefore can respond both to realised physical fact and intended or possible future manifestations.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 5, The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream and Hallucination, pp. 432-433


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