The Supramental Process of Knowledge

The mental approach to knowledge is one that starts from limitation and division and attempts to expand to comprehend what appears to be a separate external reality. In order to avoid confusion when the small individual ego meets the larger external reality, the mind has developed a mechanism of attempting to divorce its understanding and perceptions from vital or emotional bonding, by developing a conscious separation which we call “objectivity”.

The supramental approach to knowledge is radically different. Sri Aurobindo describes this difference: “the gnostic consciousness will at once intimately and exactly know its object by a comprehending and penetrating identification with it. It will overpass what it has to know, but it will include it in itself; it will know the object as part of itself as it might know any part or movement of its own being, without any narrowing of itself by the identification or snaring of its thought in it so as to be bound or limited in knowledge. There will be the intimacy, accuracy, fullness of a direct internal knowledge, but not that misleading by personal mind by which we constantly err, because the consciousness will be that of a universal and not a restricted and ego-bound person. It will proceed towards all knowledge, not setting truth against truth to see which will stand and survive, but completing truth by truth in the light of the one Truth of which all are the aspects. All idea and vision and perception will have this character of an inner seeing, an intimate extended self-perception, a large self-integrating knowledge, an indivisible whole working itself out by light acting upon light in a self-executing harmony of truth-being. There will be an unfolding, not as a delivery of light out of darkness, but as a delivery of light out of itself; for if an evolving supramental Consciousness holds back part of its contents of self-awareness behind in itself, it does this not as a step or by an act of Ignorance, but as the movement of a deliberate bringing out of its timeless knowledge into a process of Time-manifestation. A self-illumination, a revelation of light out of light will be the method of cognition of this evolutionary supramental Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 27, “The Gnostic Being”

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