Opening and Transforming the Lower Nature Is Required for the Supramental Change

As we reviewed in the previous chapter, The Triple Transformation, there are 3 stages required to effect the complete and integral change that is the next major goal of the spiritual evolution in the material world. The first, the psychic transformation, and the second, the spiritual transformation, are essentially prerequisites for the third, the supramental transformation to take place. But it is not sufficient to have just a spiritual or psychic influence on the life or the mind; rather, it is necessary to systematically uproot the habitual working and patterns of mind, life and even the physical body in order to accomodate them to the radical change in working that is brought about by the active influx of the supramental consciousness and force.

The change required is generally one of difficult effort, concentration and focus, tapasya. “There has to be a preliminary stage of seeking and effort with a central offering or self-giving of the heart and soul and mind to the Highest and a later mediate stage of total conscious reliance on its greater Power aiding the personal endeavor; that integral reliance again must grow into a final complete abandonment of oneself in every part and every movement to the working of the higher Truth in the nature.” and further, “For it implies a giving up by the mind of all its moulds, ideas, mental formations, of all opinion, of all its habits of intellectual observation and judgment to be replaced first by an intuitive and then by an overmind or supramental functioning which inaugurates the action of a direct Truth-Consciousness, Truth-sight, Truth-discernment, a new consciousness which is in all its ways quite foreign to our mind’s present nature.”

There is a similar change required in the other parts of the being, which will be the subject of the next post.

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

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Gaining the Obedience of the Lower Nature to the Higher Truth of the Spirit

Sri Aurobindo points out that it is not sufficient for the enlightened mind and will to adopt a spiritual focus and aspiration. The entire lower Nature must be taken up systematically, must be willing and able to respond to the higher impulsions, and must be willing to give up the old habits and ingrained laws of the lower Nature. The Purusha may agree, but it is not until the Prakriti consents that this integral change can truly take place. “It is not only the central thought and will that have to acquiesce, but all the parts of our being must assent and surrender to the law of the spiritual Truth; all has to learn to obey the government of the conscious Divine Power in all its members.”

This is not an easy or quick process. “For some of these parts are still subject to the inconscience and subconscience and to the lower automatism of habit or so-called law of the nature,–mechanical habit of mind, habit of life, habit of instinct, habit of personality, habit of character, the ingrained mental, vital, physical needs, impulses, desires of the natural man, the old functionings of all kinds that are rooted there so deep that it would seem as if we had to dig to abysmal foundations in order to get them out: these parts refuse to give up their response to the lower law founded in the Inconscient; they continually send up to the conscious mind and life the old reactions and seek to reaffirm them there as the eternal rule of Nature.”

Each part of the being has its own resistance levels and obstacles to be seen, understood and overcome. We can appreciate the difficulty of this effort if we try to resist even one small habit of action in our lives…and follow the process through to a successful conclusion while observing how the impulse or drive comes, how it tries to justify itself, how it impinges on the conscious awareness, until it is satisfied.

At some point we need to achieve the active collaboration, support and willingness of the active Nature, Prakriti, to the required changes. “The rule of conscious obedience to the higher truth of the spirit, the surrender of the whole being to the light and power that come from the Supernature, is a second condition which has to be accomplished slowly and with difficulty by the being itself before the supramental transformation can become at all possible.”

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