Overcoming the Limitations of the Mind in the Action of the Supramental Shakti

Each power of consciousness, as it enters the world and begins to act, works through the previously developed levels, and is thereby limited and framed by the structure and capacities of those preceding terms. Thus, when life energy begins to act in Matter, it has to face the weaknesses, the fatigue, and the structural incapacity of the bodies into which it is being infused. Similarly, when the mental power begins to manifest, it is also limited, not just by the physical limitations of the body, but by the inherent nature and reactive actions that come with the vital energy. While each power of consciousness has its own “native plane” of action where it is able to manifest in an untrammeled manner, there are limits once it tries to influence the interaction in the world of body-life-mind. Acting through an earlier evolutionary power of consciousness implies that there is a dilution effect, something akin to a “step down transformer” converting high voltage electrical energy into a weak and modified version capable of functioning in the home and running the lights and appliances, whereas the high voltage would burn the house down if it came in undiluted.

Similarly, when we look at the next phase of the evolution of consciousness, we can identify and recognize that there is a power beyond the mental level, which Sri Aurobindo terms “supramental”. The question that arises then is whether the supramental level, which also has its own native form and plane of action, must manifest solely through its ability to influence mind-life-body, or whether there will evolve a purer and more powerful form that can directly carry, hold and direct the action of the supramental consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “If the mind is to be always the instrument, then although we shall be conscious of a diviner Power initiating and conducting all our inner and outer human action, yet it will have to formulate its knowledge, will, Ananda and all things else in the mental figure, and that means to translate them into an inferior kind of functioning other than the supreme workings native to the divine consciousness and its Shakti. The mind spiritualised, purified, liberated, perfected within its own limits may come as near as possible to a faithful mental translation, but we shall find that this is after all a relative fidelity and an imperfect perfection. The mind by its very nature cannot render with an entirely right rightness or act in the unified completeness of the divine knowledge, will and Ananda because it is an instrument for dealing with the divisions of the finite on the basis of division, a secondary instrument therefore and a sort of delegate for the lower movement in which we live.”

“The divine Will and Wisdom organising the action of the infinite consciousness and determining all things according to the truth of the spirit and the law of its manifestation is not mental but supramental and even in its formulation nearest to mind as much above the mental consciousness in its light and power as the mental consciousness of man above the vital mind of the lower creation. The question is how far the perfected human being can raise himself above mind, enter into some kind of fusing union with the supramental and build up in himself a level of supermind, a developed gnosis by the form and power of which the divine Shakti can directly act, not through a mental translation, but organically in her supramental nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 19, The Nature of the Supermind, pp. 755-756