The Illumined Mind

Sri Aurobindo terms the gradation of consciousness beyond the Higher Mind as the “Illumined Mind”. Whereas the Higher Mind had a primary character of thought, and was the immediate source of our human mental faculties, the Illumined Mind takes on another character altogether, “a Mind no longer of higher Thought, but of spiritual light.” Whereas the play of the Higher Mind relies primarily on an established peace and calm in the awareness, the action of the Illumined Mind has a dynamism based on the inpouring of Light into the consciousness. Sri Aurobindo points out that light is not purely a metaphorical image, but an actual experience internally in the consciousness. He compares the two gradations thus: “Here the clarity of the spiritual intelligence, its tranquil daylight, gives place or subordinates itself to an intense lustre, a splendour and illumination of the Spirit: a play of lightnings of spiritual truth and power breaks from above into the consciousness and adds to the calm and wide enlightenment and the vast descent of peace which characterise or accompany the action of the larger conceptual-spiritual principle, a fiery ardour of realisation and a rapturous ecstasy of knowledge.”

The influx of light occurs because all consciousness manifests itself as a vibrational effect on the electro-magnetic spectrum and thus, as we ascend into the higher ranges of consciousness, the corresponding physical effect will take on the character of light. “light is primarily a spiritual manifestation of the Divine Reality illuminative and creative; material light is a subsequent representation or conversion of it into Matter for the purposes of the material Energy.”

This changes the process from a systematic step-by-step through progression found in Mind, through the more intuitive but nevertheless mental process of the Higher Mind, to the “arrival of a greater dynamic, a golden drive, a luminous “enthousiasmos” of inner force and power which replaces the comparatively slow and deliberate process of the Higher Mind by a swift, sometimes a vehement, almost a violent impetus of rapid transformation.”

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

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