The Power of Memory in the Supramental Consciousness

In the Greek philosopher Plato’s dialogue called “Meno”, Socrates makes the argument that all learning is actually remembrance.  The soul, having been born and reincarnated numerous times, has an enormous store of latent memory which can be called up through a process of review or inquiry.  The individual is not taught so much as prodded to remember.

Most people, however, without the kind of reflection provided by Socrates in the dialogue, treat memory as encapsulated experience of a particular lifetime and thus limited by the frame of that life’s specific experiences.  It is therefore ego-based and circumscribed by the ego-personality.

With the basis of the supermind in the oneness of the Infinite, the question of memory, its source and function, must take on a different character, and it is one that is more akin to Socrates’ insights, in a certain sense,  than to that of most people.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The supramental memory is different from the mental, not a storing up of past knowledge and experience, but an abiding presence of knowledge that can be brought forward or, more characteristically, offers itself, when it is needed: it is not dependent on attention or on conscious reception, for the things of the past not known actually or not observed can be called up from latency by an action which is yet essentially a remembrance.  Especially on a certain level all knowledge presents itself as a remembering, because all is latent or inherent in the self of supermind.  The future like the past presents itself to knowledge in the supermind as a memory of the preknown.”

In the supermind, there is an inherent knowledge of the intention and the steps of the unfolding of the evolutionary movement in the external world.  Even the action of imagination takes on a substance as a form of knowledge of an actual possibility or future formation when seen from this level.  Past, present and future are one and indivisible to the vision of the Spirit.  This implies that the supramental knower can take cognizance of and recognize events, persons, forces and objects across the span of time equally.  This replaces the limited form of memory available to the mental consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 23, The Supramental Instruments — Thought-process , pp. 828-829

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