The Evolution of Mind As the Third Principle of Manifestation

Continuing this step by step progression, Sri Aurobindo next takes up the evolution of Mind into the world of Life and Matter. Once again, when mind becomes dominant, as Life and Matter before it, it seems to be the ultimate defining cause and power in action as it takes charge of the life-energy and material nature and turns them to its purposes. Nevertheless, eventually we find that mind, too, is a derivative power not an ultimate or originating power of manifestation. “it is an outcome of Overmind or it is here a luminous shadow thrown by the divine Supermind: it can only arrive at its own perfection by admitting the light of a larger knowledge; it must transform its own more ignorant, imperfect and conflicting powers and values into the divinely effective potencies and harmonious values of the supramental Truth-Consciousness. All the powers of the lower hemisphere with their structures of the Ignorance can find their true selves only by a transformation in the light that descends to us from the higher hemisphere of an eternal self-knowledge.”

Matter, Life and Mind, the 3 reflected or derivative powers, correspond to the principles of Existence, Consciousness-Force and Bliss/Ananda of the upper hemisphere. Between the two is the effective and manifesting power of the Supermind which has, so to speak, one foot in the upper hemisphere and still retains its full consciousness of the ultimate Truth of existence, while translating, manifesting and implementing these higher powers into their reflected forms in the world evolving out of the Inconscience.

While the development of Mind signals a dramatic increase in self-awareness and understanding, it has its distinct limits and these must be overpassed to bring about the evolution of the direct supramental force in the manifested world as the next principle to evolve out of the Inconscience.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence