Intermediate Realisations and Levels of Consciousness Are Not the Supramental Manifestation

Sri Aurobindo undertook detailed and precise review of the various experiences, planes of consciousness and realisations that arise in the course of the practice of the Yoga. He is therefore careful to distinguish between one or another level or aspect of the spiritual growth of the seeker and the ultimate realisation of the supramental consciousness, which, as previously noted, is an “ultimate” not an “immediate” aim or goal. He raises this issue at some length to help avoid the leap, so rewarding to the egoistic consciousness and mind of man, that any escape from the framework of body-life-mind into something higher or deeper represents some kind of experience or expression of this higher realisation.

“To reach supermind it is not enough to go above the ordinary movements of the human mind; it is not enough to receive a greater light, a greater power, a greater joy or to develop capacities of knowledge, sight, effective will that surpass the normal range of the human being. All light is not the light of the spirit, still less is all light the light of the supermind; the mind, the vital, the physical itself have lights of their own, as yet hidden, which can be very inspiring, exalting, informative, powerfully executive. A breaking out into the cosmic consciousness may also bring in an immense enlargement of the consciousness and power. An opening into the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical, any range of the subliminal consciousness, can liberate an activity of abnormal or supernormal powers of knowledge, action or experience which the uninstructed mind can easily mistake for spiritual revelations, inspirations, intuitions. An opening upward into the greater ranges of the higher mental being can bring down much light and force creating an intense activity of the intuitivised mind and life-power or an ascent into these ranges can bring a true but still incomplete light easily exposed to mixture, a light which is spiritual in its source, though it does not always remain spiritual in its active character when it comes down into the lower nature. But none of these things is the supramental light, the supramental power; that can only be seen and grasped when we have reached the summits of mental being, entered into overmind and stand on the borders of an upper, a greater hemisphere of spiritual existence.”

“To imagine that we have reached such a condition when we are still moving in the dynamics of the Ignorance, though it may be an enlightened or illumined Ignorance, is to lay ourselves open either to a disastrous misleading or to an arrest of the evolution of the being. For if it is some inferior state that we thus mistake for the supermind, it lays us open to all the dangers we have seen to attend a presumptuous egoistic haste in our demand for achievement.”

“Even the achievement of a complete inner liberation and a high spiritual consciousness is not that supreme transformation; for we may have that achievement, a status perfect in itself, in essence, and still our dynamic parts may in their instrumentation belong to an enlightened spiritualised mind and may be in consequence, like all mind, defective even in its greater power and knowledge, still subject to a partial or local obscuration or a limitation by the original circumscribing nescience.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 13, The Supermind and the Yoga of Works, pp. 269-270