Bliss and the Physical Consciousness

Due to the inherent bias towards isolation and fragmentation that is the basis of the mental consciousness, we tend to try to separate the consciousness of Sat-Chit-Ananda from the Mental-Vital-Physical planes of consciousness. Consciousness is, however, one and unified and thus, whether we recognize it or not, the awareness, force and Ananda of the higher planes is secretly active and involved in the physical, vital and mental consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo observes that the experience of these higher planes may actually come through into the physical being under certain circumstances: “The very physical consciousness in man, the annamaya purusha, can without this supreme ascent and integral descent yet reflect and enter into the self of Sachchidananda. It can do it either by a reflection of the Soul in physical Nature, its bliss, power and infinity secret but still present here, or by losing its separate sense of substance and existence in the Self within or without it.”

Because this is not the full integration of the higher levels of consciousness into active awareness, there are limits to the experience of bliss through the physical consciousness: “The result is a glorified sleep of the physical mind in which the physical being forgets itself in a kind of conscious Nirvana or else moves about like a thing inert in the hands of Nature…, like a leaf in the wind, or otherwise a state of pure happy and free irresponsibility of action…, a divine childhood. But this comes without the higher glories of knowledge and delight which belong to the same status upon a more exalted level. It is an inert realisation of Sachchidananda in which there is neither any mastery of the Prakriti by the Purusha nor any sublimation of Nature into her own supreme power, the infinite glories of the Para Shakti. Yet these two, this mastery and this sublimation, are the two gates of perfection, the splendid doors into the supreme Eternal.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 24, Gnosis and Ananda, pg. 478