First Transitional Steps in Moving Beyond the Mental Man

The supramental force, when fully involved in material nature takes on the aspect of a mechanical action that is clearly well-organised and detailed, but which does not have a conscious actor aware of carrying out this action. The whirl of the suns and stars in the universe, the action of the atoms and the very creation of matter, life and mind, depends on this universal force at work in its own perfect way. As we reach the stage of mental outflowering evidenced in the human mentality we begin to see a more conscious awareness arise with regard to the action being undertaken. The evolved mental being has the ability not simply to act with the powers of analysis and detailed perception, but to also step back and actual observe and reflect on the action being undertaken, and in the most evolved formations, the mental man can actively collaborate in the work of this mechanical nature with conscious support and effort, through conscious choice and rejection.

Sri Aurobindo addresses the first steps that are required for the evolved mental being to move to the next level: “It is a first condition of this change that the mental Man we now are should become inwardly aware and in possession of his own deeper law of being and its processes; he must become the psychic and inner mental being master of his energies, no longer a slave of the movements of the lower Prakriti, in control of it, seated securely in a free harmony with a higher law of Nature.”

The limitations of the mental structure mean that while there can be a certain amount of self-knowledge and control of the lower nature, it is always limited until the higher consciousness can fully come into play. “There is not as yet a luminous seeing which knows things by a direct grasp and arranges them with a spontaneous precision according to the seeing, according to the scheme of the inherent truth; although there is a certain element of instinct and intuition and insight which has some beginning of this power, the normal character of human intelligence is an inquiring reason or reflective thought which observes, supposes, infers, concludes, arrives by labour at a constructed truth, a constructed scheme of knowledge, a deliberately arranged action of its own making. Or rather this is what it strives to be and partly is; for its knowledge and will are constantly invaded, darkened or frustrated by forces of the being which are half-blind instruments of the mechanisms of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 26, “The Ascent Towards Supermind”