Comparison of Mental Thinking to Supramental Thought

The sages who have experienced the opening of the spiritual consciousness or the shift to one of the higher gradations of consciousness have frequently indicated that there is a vast difference between mental thinking and spiritual thought, vision, experience.  Some of have described this as the difference between “day” and “night” and some have described a “reversal of consciousness” whereby the spiritual experience is diametrically opposite to that of the normal mental view of things.  The mental consciousness is based in the experience of the ego, and thus rooted in a separative, fragmented and divided consciousness that sees itself as separate and other than the rest of creation.  The spiritual consciousness is based in the experience of the Oneness of all existence, and thus, starts from a totally different standpoint and basis from that of the mental thought process.

Sri Aurobindo has taken up this question at some length:  “The range of knowledge covered by the supramental thought, experience and vision will be commensurate with all that is open to the human consciousness, not only on the earthly but on all planes.  it will however act increasingly in an inverse sense to that of the mental thinking and experience.”

“The centre of mental thinking is the ego, the person of the individual thinker.  The supramental man, on the contrary, will think more with the universal mind or even may rise above it, and his individuality will rather be a vessel of radiation and communication, to which the universal thought and knowledge of the Spirit will converge, than a centre.  The mental man thinks and acts in a radius determined by the smallness or largeness of his mentality and of its experience.  The range of the supramental man will be all the earth and all that lies behind it on other planes of existence.  And finally the mental man thinks and sees on the level of the present life, though it may be with an upward aspiration, and his view is obstructed on every side.  His main basis of knowledge and action is the present with a glimpse into the past and ill-grasped influence from its pressure and a blind look towards the future.  He bases himself on the actualities of the earthly existence first on the facts of the outward world,– to which he is ordinarily in the habit of relating nine-tenths if not the whole of his inner thinking and experience,– then on the changing actualities of the more superficial part of his inner being…. The essence of things he tends to see, if at all, only as a result of his actualities, in a relation to and dependence on them, and therefore he seems them constantly in a false light or in a limited measure.  In all these respects the supramental man must proceed from the opposite principle of truth vision.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 22, The Supramental Thought and Knowledge, pp. 807-808