The Character and Powers of Action of the Gnostic Consciousness

It is possible, through various forms of yogic concentration, to achieve specific powers, known as “siddhis”, which allow the practitioner to experience levels of knowledge and insight not usually found in the normal mental consciousness. At the same time, guides and teachers of yoga warn that these powers can be distractions to the main goal of realization or liberation.

What is a special occult power for the mental being still rooted in ego, and thus, an obstacle, is however a native characteristic of the action of consciousness at the level of the Vijnana or Gnosis. This level of consciousness operates on a totally different plane and starts from oneness; thus, it already possesses naturally those types of awareness that the mental consciousness can only partially achieve with serious effort of discipline.

Sri Aurobindo comments: “Thus the being of Vijnana is in all its activities a play of perfected knowledge-power, will-power, delight-power, raised to a higher than the mental, vital and bodily level.
All-pervasive, universalised, freed from egoistic personality and individuality, it is the play of a higher Self, a higher consciousness and therefore a higher force and higher delight of being.”

With regard to the new powers of knowledge and action: “In the Vijnana they are neither occult nor Siddhis, but the open, unforced and normal play of its nature. The Vijnana is the Truth-power and Truth-action of the divine Being in its divine identities, and, when this acts through the individual lifted to the gnostic plane, it fulfils itself unperverted, without fault or egoistic reaction, without diversion from the possession of the Divine. There the individual is no longer the ego, but the free Jiva domiciled in the higher divine nature of which he is a portion…, the nature of the supreme and universal Self seen indeed in the play of multiple individuality but without the veil of ignorance, with self-knowledge, in its multiple oneness, in the truth of its divine Shakti.”

“In the Vijnana the right relation and action of Purusha and Prakriti are found, because there they become unified and the Divine is no longer veiled in Maya. All is his action.”

In this state of awareness, the ego does not claim to be either the actor or the instrument. “He is rather aware of the Divine seated above, lord of all, …, as well as acting within him. And seated himself in that higher being, …he can say truly and boldly, “God himself by his Prakriti knows, acts, loves, takes delight through my individuality and its figures and fulfils there in its higher and divine measures the multiple lila which the Infinite for ever plays in the universality which is himself for ever.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 23, The Conditions of Attainment to the Gnosis, pp. 475-476