The First Step: The Ascent From Human Mentality to Higher Mind

Having provided us an overview of the steps and gradations beyond Mind toward the Supramental level of consciousness, Sri Aurobindo now addresses the steps successively and in detail. “Our first decisive step out of our human intelligence, our normal mentality, is an ascent into a higher Mind, a mind no longer of mingled light and obscurity or half-light, but a large clarity of the Spirit.”

Just as the characteristic action of the Mind is the process of thought, we see at the next level of Higher Mind, this same predominant characteristic, although the action is based on a comprehensive light and a sense of a unified whole, while maintaining the mind’s separative, multiple capabilities. The action of the Higher Mind is “a luminous thought-mind, a mind of Spirit-born conceptual knowledge. An all-awareness emerging from the original identity, carrying the truths the identity held in itself, conceiving swiftly, victoriously, multitudinously, formulating and by self-power of the Idea effectually realising its conceptions, is the character of the greater mind of knowledge. This kind of cognition is the last that emerges from the original spiritual identity before the initiation of a separative knowledge, base of the Ignorance; it is therefore the first that meets us when we rise from conceptive and ratiocinative mind, our best-organised knowledge-power of the Ignorance, into the realms of the Spirit; it is, indeed, the spiritual parent of our conceptive mental ideation, and it is natural that this leading power of our mentality should, when it goes beyond itself, pass into its immediate source.”

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