Complex Interaction of Higher Gradations of Consciousness

We frequently become confused in trying to understand the complex interaction between the various gradations of consciousness and the relationship of the spiritual development to our normal, everyday life of Matter, Life and Mind. Sri Aurobindo has described this complex interaction as follows: “As Life and Mind begin to appear when the organisation of Matter is sufficient to admit them but the more complex and perfect organisation of Matter comes with the evolution of Life and Mind, as Mind appears when Life is sufficiently organised to admit of a developed vibration of consciousness but Life receives its full organisation and development only after Mind can act upon it, as the spiritual evolution begins when man as Mind is capable of the movements of spirituality but Mind also rises to its own highest perfection by the growth of the intensities and luminosities of the Spirit, so it is with this higher evolution of the ascending powers of the Spirit. As soon as there is a sufficient spiritual development, something of intuition, illumination of the being, the movements of the higher spiritual grades of Consciousness begin to manifest,–sometimes one, sometimes the other or all together, and they do not wait for each power in the series to complete itself before a higher power comes into action.”

There are reasons why this occurs and in fact is a necessary part of the process: “This intricate action takes place because each descending power by its intensity of pressure on the nature and unlifting effect makes the being already capable of a still higher invasion before that earlier power itself is complete in its self-formation; but it also happens because the work of assumption and transformation of the lower nature can with difficulty be done if a higher and higher intervention does not take place. The Illumination and the higher Thought need the help of the Intuition, the Intuition needs the help of the Overmind to combat the darkness or ignorance in which they labour and to give them their own fullness. Still, it is not possible in the end for the overmind status and integration to be complete until the Higher Mind and the Illumined Mind have been integrated and taken up into the Intuition and the Intuition itself subsequently integrated and taken up into the all-enlarging and all-sublimating overmind energy. The law of the gradation has to be satisfied even in the complexity of the process of evolutionary Nature.”

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