Steps in the Transition from Mind to Supermind

  • Sri Aurobindo provides a concise and organised overview of the transitional steps involved in shifting from the mental to the supramental standpoint and consciousness in action.  He reminds us that this process is not simply one of ideation or mental function, not instantaneous, and does not occur in a straight line, but has both progress and setbacks, and involves efforts of purification in order to be fully successful:

“The transition from mind to supermind is not only the substitution of a greater instrument of thought and knowledge, but a change and conversion of the whole consciousness.  There is evolved not only a supramental thought, but a supramental will, sense, feeling, a supramental substitute for all the activities that are now accomplished by the mind.  All these higher activities are first manifested in the mind itself as descents, irruptions, messages or revelations of a superior power.”

This obviously involves dilution and mixing up of the higher with the normal functioning of the mind.  This process increases the power and functioning of the mind to create a “false intuition” that mimics but does not exactly reproduce the action of the higher intuition.

“The next step is the formation of a luminous mind of intuitive experience, thought, will, feeling, sense from which the intermixture of the lesser mind and the imitative intuition are progressively eliminated: this is a process of purification, suddhi, necessary to the new formation and perfection, siddhi. …  The process is progressive and for a long time chequered by admixture and the necessity of a return upon the lower movements in order to correct and transform them.  The higher and the lower power act sometimes alternately,– the consciousness descending back from the heights it had attained to its former level but always with some change,– but sometimes together and with a sort of mutual reference.  The mind eventually becomes wholly intuitivised and exists only as a passive channel for the supramental action; but this condition too is not ideal and presents, besides, still a certain obstacle, because the higher action has still to pass through a retarding and diminishing conscious substance,– that of the physical consciousness.”

“The final stage of the change will come when the supermind occupies and supramentalises the whole being and turns even the vital and physical sheaths into moulds of itself, responsive, subtle and instinct with its powers.  Man then becomes wholly the superman.  This is at least the natural and integral process.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pp. 795-796