Attainment of the Supramental Consciousness Is Not the Immediate Goal of the Integral Yoga

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It must also be kept in mind that the supramental change is difficult, distant, an ultimate stage; it must be regarded as the end of a far-off vista; it cannot be and must not be turned into a first aim, a constantly envisaged goal or an immediate objective. For it can only come into the view of possibility after much arduous self-conquest and self-exceeding, at the end of many long and trying stages of a difficult self-evolution of the nature.”

If the seeker reflects on the actual operation of his body-life-mind and ego-personality, he will see the many present issues, concerns, limitations and difficulties that need to be systematically worked on and overcome in order to move the consciousness beyond the level at which human beings tend to operate. “One must first acquire an inner Yogic consciousness and replace by it our ordinary view of things, natural movements, motives of life; one must revolutionise the whole present build of our being.”

This transformation must continually proceed to the deepest levels of the being and the well-spring of unconscious and subconscious habitual actions and motives that drive most of the life-action. Sri Aurobindo calls for the psychic transformation that opens up all the inner motive-forces of the life and turns them toward the Divine. Thereafter comes the descent and action of the higher Light and Force to spiritualise and refine the action by removing the boundaries set by the ego-consciousness. “Then only the passage into the supramental consciousness begins to become possible, and even then there is a difficult ascent to make each stage of which is a separate arduous achievement.”

All of this takes time, and even the concentrated effort of a life dedicated to yogic practice does not eliminate this time requirement: “Yoga is a rapid and concentrated conscious evolution of the being, but however rapid, even though it may effect in a single life what in an instrumental Nature might take centuries and milleniums or many hundreds of lives, still all evolution must move by stages; even the greatest rapidity and concentration of the movement cannot swallow up all the stages or reverse natural process and bring the end near to the beginning.”

Sri Aurobindo cautions strongly against the attempt to “storm the gates”, so to speak. This could lead to “…a fatal self-inflation into an unnatural unhuman and undivine bigness of magnified ego. If the being is small, the nature weak and incapable, there is not this large-scale disaster; but a loss of balance, a mental unhinging and fall into unreason or a vital unhinging and consequent moral aberration or a deviation into some kind of morbid abnormality of the nature may be the untoward consequence. This is not a Yoga in which abnormality of any kind, even if it be an exalted abnormality, can be admitted as a way to self-fulfilment or spiritual realisation. Even when one enters into supernormal and suprarational experience, there should be no disturbance of the poise which must be kept firm from the summit of the consciousness to its base; the experiencing consciousness must preserve a calm balance, an unfailing clarity and order in its observation, a sort of sublimated commonsense, an unfailing power of self-criticism, right discrimination, co-ordination and firm vision of things; a sane grasp on facts and a high spiritualised positivism must always be there. it is not by becoming irrational or infrarational that one can go beyond ordinary nature into supernature; it should be done by passing through reason to a greater light of superreason. This superreason descends into reason and takes it up into higher levels even while breaking its limitations; reason is not lost but changes and becomes its own true unlimited self, a coordinating power of the supernature.”

These warnings underline the need for patience, balance and steady effort and the understanding of the enormous changes required and the time needed to carry them out in the nature. That is why Sri Aurobindo indicates that the seeker should not fixate on achieving the supermind as the immediate focus or goal.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 13, The Supermind and the Yoga of Works, pp. 267-269

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