Powers of the Mind

When we take up the question of whether the entire world within which we live and act is purely an illusion or a formation created by the mind of man, it becomes essential to review and understand the powers of the mind and its limitations as well. Sri Aurobindo dismisses the possibility of the mind being the ultimate creative power, able to create worlds and beings and universes out of itself with no underlying substance or pre-existing reality upon which to work. In fact, he points out that this is beyond the mind’s powers, although those powers are more extensive than we usually imagine. “Mind is indeed a potent agency, more potent than we readily imagine; it can make formations which effectuate themselves in our own or others’ consciousness and lives and even have an effect on inconscient Matter; but an entirely original creation in the void is beyond its possibilities.”

The function of this power develops in potency as the mind develops and begins to contact other and higher planes or worlds of existence and thereby gain access to the powers and actions native to those planes. “In his increasing inner experience he opens up new planes of being in himself; as the secret centres of his consciousness dissolve their knots, he becomes able through them to conceive of those larger realms, to receive direct influences from them, to enter into them, to image them in his terrestrial mind and inner sense. He does create images, symbol-forms, reflective shapes of them with which his mind can deal; in this sense only he creates the Divine Image that he worships, creates the forms of the gods, creates new planes and worlds within him, and through these images the real worlds and powers that overtop our existence are able to take possession of the consciousness in the physical world, to pour into it their potencies, to transform it with the light of their higher being. But all this is not the creation of the higher worlds of being; it is a revelation of them to the consciousness of the soul on the material plane as it develops out of the Nescience. It is a creation of their forms here by a reception of their powers; there is an enlargement of our subjective life on this plane by the discovery of its true relation with higher planes of its own being from which it was separated by the veil of the material Nescience.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 21, The Order of the Worlds

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